20th Century Theatre

291 Westbourne Grove,
London, W11 2QA

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Victoria Hall, Bijou Theatre, Century Theatre

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Located in the west London district of Notting Hill, on Westbourne Grove close to the junction with Portobello Road. The Victoria Hall was created on the ground floor of an 1863-built terrace of shops with housing above. First operating as a concert hall from 1863, it was part of an arts complex. In 1866 it was renamed Bijou Theatre. It hosted the premiere production of Oscar Wilde’s play “Salome” which ran for two performances. It was later renamed Century Theatre and was closed by November 1903.

It went over to cinema use in the early-1900’s. Use as a cinema possibly ceased when the nearby Electric Theatre on Portobello Road opened as a purpose built 600-seat cinema on 24th December 1910 (it has its own page on Cinema Treasures).

It was reopened as a live theatre in 1923 having been renamed 20th Century Theatre. It was the home of the Lena Ashwell Players. In 1937 it was operated by Rudolph Steiner Ltd. and Vera Compton-Burnett who operated it until it was closed in 1950.

The building became an antiques warehouse for the nearby famous Portobello Road street market. Since 1960 it has lain vacant and unused. The 20th Century Theatre was given a Grade II Listed building status by English Heritage.

In September 2023, it was announced that the theatre had been taken over by the Aspect Foundation with plans to renovate and restore the theatre to become a concert hall and community space. Plans are to rename it the Aspect Theatre.

Contributed by Ken Roe
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