Location: Shaftesbury Avenue
Currently Showing: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Access: Leicester Square
Stage Door: Greek Street, come out of the main entrance and make two rights
Ownership: Nimax Theatres
The Palace Theatre was commissioned by Richard D’Oyly Carte in the late 1880s who intended it to be the home of English grand opera (his Savoy Theatre was the home of light opera). The design incorporated steel cantilevers into the back walls to support the higher tiers so that there was no need for pillars to restrict views. The theatre was constructed using concrete where possible to reduce the risk of fire and potential damage.
The theatre opened in January 1891 as the Royal English Opera House with Ivanhoe by Arthur Sullivan. The venue closed after this production because there was nothing showing afterwards. It reopened shortly after in November of the same year with La Basoche by André Messager.
The theatre was leased to Sarah Bernhardt and sold for a loss within a year to Walter Emden who converted it into a grand music hall called the Palace Theatre of Varieties. Alfred Beydus purchased the theatre and it was renamed the Palace Theatre in 1911. Herman Finch, the musical director, made the theatre famous for its orchestra.
Since 1925, the Palace Theatre has been home to numerous musicals including, Princess Charming, Gay Divorce (which was Fred Astaire’s last stage musical appearance), The Entertainer (which starred Laurence Olivier), the Sound of Music, Jesus Christ Superstar and Les Misérables.
In 2004, after Les Misérables, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Theatre Group purchased, refurbished and restored the theatre (stripping the paint off which covered the Italian marble). In 2012, the Group sold the theatre to Nimax Theatres.
The Palace Theatre sits on Cambridge Circus. There are many restaurants within two minutes of the theatre, so one is practically spoiled for choice. Milano is a very nice Italian with an extensive menu, so there is something for everyone. There is also an ice cream parlour on Cambridge Circus called Gelupo Gelateria.
Leicester Square is within seven minutes’ walk, which has many bars, cafes and restaurants, most of which have outdoor space so it is perfect in the summer.
Due to the Palace Theatre’s design, there are no pillars supporting the higher levels and so there are no view restrictions caused by pillars for any seats. Most seats on all levels have excellent views.
Where to buy tickets
To buy tickets for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the best place to go is through the play’s website (www.harrypottertheplay.com) where you have the option to book via Nimax or ATG. These two companies are their official partners and therefore you will buy the tickets at face value.