Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Location: Catherine Street

Currently Showing: 42nd Street

Access: Covent Garden

Stage Door: Russell Street, one right out of the main entrance

Ownership: Really Useful Theatre Group 

Website: www.reallyusefultheatres.co.uk/our-theatres/theatre-royal

Social Media: Twitter & Facebook

History

After 11 years of The Interregnum, during which frivolous activities such as theatre were banned, Charles II came to the throne in 1660 and soon issued Letters Patent to two parties licensing the formation of new theatre companies.  One of the parties was the King’s Company, which was run by Thomas Killigrew, who built a new theatre on Drury Lane.  The new theatre opened on 7th May 1663 as the Theatre Royal in Bridges Street. This theatre was unaffected by the Great Fire of London but burned down six years later on 25th January 1672.

A new theatre was opened in 1674 and was home to many successes including Hamlet.  David Garrick became manager in 1747.  He was succeeded in 1776 by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, whose play, The School for Scandal, made its debut in 1777. Sheridan oversaw the demolition of the second theatre and the construction of its replacement.  A larger theatre replaced it which had a capacity of 3600 and featured the world’s first safety curtain.  However, the theatre burned down 15 years after its construction.

The fourth and current theatre opened in 1812.  The theatre’s management transferred to Augusta Harris in 1879.  During the 1880s and 1890s, the theatre was home to many Carl Rose Opera Company productions.

In 1922, under Sir Alfred Butt’s management, the theatre had a major renovation which left the theatre with a reduced capacity of 2000.  The venue closed in 1939 due to the outbreak of World War II.  During the war, the venue was used as headquarters by the Entertainment National Service Association.  It sustained some minor damage during the Blitz.

The theatre reopened in 1946 with Noel Coward’s Pacific 1860.  Since then, it has been home to many productions including Oklahoma!, Carousel, My Fair Lady, Camelot, A Chorus Line, 42nd Street, Miss Saigon and Oliver!.  The theatre is currently owned by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Theatre Group and the current production, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, opened at the venue on 25th June 2013.

 

Visiting Information 

The Theatre Royal Drury Lane has one of London’s largest auditoriums.  It is located on Catherine Street which just off Aldwych Crescent. The Fortune, Duchess, Aldwych and Novello Theatres are in close proximity.  Embankment is nearby, which provides a lovely view of the Thames and London’s skyline. The view is particularly pretty by night.

Our favourite nearby restaurants:

  • Cucina Asellina – The Strand, Italian, expensive
  • Pizza Express – The Strand, chain, vouchers available
  • Joe Allen – Exeter Street, American cuisine, special vegetarian menu
  • Strada – Tavistock Street, chain, vouchers available

 

Seating Tips

There are two central aisles in this theatre.  The premium seats are in the centre block of seats and provide the best view.  However, the next band down are also excellent seats and are around £15 cheaper than the premium seats.  The front row (row AA) is in this seating band and makes for an intimate performance which is difficult in such a large theatre.  The ends of rows are significantly cheaper and vary in their view restrictions.

The Royal Circle is the next tier which has the same price bands as the stalls and also has two central aisles.  The Grand Circle and Balcony tickets are significantly cheaper than the seats in the Stalls and Royal Circle because the view is compromised from being high up and therefore having a downward perspective on the performance.

 

Where to buy tickets

The Theatre Royal Drury Lane is owned by the Really Useful Theatre Group and therefore the best place to buy tickets for 42nd Street is through their website.  Tickets purchased from this site are in partnership with SeeTickets.  You will pay face value with a booking fee.

 

Reviews from the Theatre Royal Drury Lane

42nd Street – ★★★★★ “…a dazzling, glittering showcase of the beauty and talent of the chorus line” Read more >>>