Noel Coward Theatre
85-88 Saint Martin's Lane,
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Delfont Mackintosh Theatres (Official)
Previously operated by: Ambassador Theatre Group
Architects: William George Robert Sprague
Functions: Live Theatre
Styles: French Renaissance
Previous Names: New Theatre, Albery Theatre
Located in the West End at the heart of London’s ‘Theatreland’. The New Theatre was built by Sir Charles Wyndham at the rear of his Wyndham’s Theatre on Charing Cross Road. The frontage on Saint Martin’s Lane is in a Classical style. The New Theatre was designed by noted theatre architect W.G.R. Sprague and opened on 12th March 1903 with a revival of the play “Rosemary”. It had a seating capacity for 958 in orchestra stalls, dress circle and balcony levels. The decorative style of the auditorium is in a Louis XVI style, with Claude Ponsonby as artistic adviser on the decoration of the theatre. Medallions on the side walls contain painted portraits of French Kings & Queens.
In 1907-1908, the New Theatre presented a season of films. “Peter Pan” was produced here each Christmas from 1915 until 1919. In July 1920, Noel Coward starred in his first produced play “I’ll Leave It to You”. From March 1924, Sybil Thorndick starred in George Bernard Shaw’s “Saint Joan” which ran for 244 performances. John Gielgud became involved with the New Theatre from February 1933 until 1936. During this time he teamed up with Laurence Olivier.
The New Theatre has always been a successful playhouse, and in 1966 premiered Lional Barts new musical “Oliver” which had a long run.
It was re-named Albery Theatre on 1st January 1973, when Ian Albery took over the management of the theatre. Later it became part of the Ambassador Theatre Group. In the 1980’s Willy Russell’s musical “Blood Brothers” premiered here (it later transferred to the Phoenix Theatre where it still plays in 2012).
The Albery Theatre was re-named Noel Coward Theatre in October 2006 during the run of the musical “Avenue Q”, and is now operated by Delfont/Mackintosh Theatres.
The Noel Coward Theatre is a Grade II Listed building.
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