Prince Edward Theatre

Thursday 15 September 2011

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The Prince Edward theatre is a grade II listed building, located on Old Compton Street, in London’s West End theatre district. It was named after Prince Edward, when it opened back in 1930 (then The Prince of Wales) and the first performance to be held at the theatre was a musical comedy, Rio Rita.
Designed by Edward A Stone, there is a big Italian influence with the building and designing of this theatre. The style incorporates an exquisite and colourful interior which was created by Marc Henri Levy and Gaston Laverdet. Throughout the theatre, you can enjoy beautiful alcoves, amber glass covers and artificial fountains. The outside of theatre is styled upon an Italian Palazzo and although the theatre has had major refurbishments since it was built, the Italian style has remained inside and out, and audiences can now enjoy refreshments on the balcony outside and feel as though they really are in Italy in a real Italian palazzo..
But the building has not always been a theatre! In 1935, it was converted into a cabaret and dance hall and was renamed The London Casino, and in the early 1940’s it became a club for servicemen, and named Queensberry All Services Club. Some of the popular artists who performed were Vera Lynn, Jack Warner, Max Wall, Glenn Miller and Bing Crosby
After the war, architects T and B Bradock restored the building and converted it back to the casino, and shortly after turned it into a cinema, which then gave its name Casino Cinerama Theatre.
It was finally restored back to a theatre after it was acquired by impresario Bernard Delfont. Since then £3 million was spent on a major refurbishment, which saw the stage become larger, new sound and acoustic systems, new side boxes built and interior and exterior lighting.
A number of productions then took place at the theatre including, Evita, Crazy for You, Westside Story, The Abba Musical – Mamma Mia!, and Mary Poppins.
Did you know?
Wolfgang Amadeus and his father lived at 28 Frith Street, from 1764 to 1765, which is now the stage door of the theatre, and so the Mozart Bar in the entrance foyer was appropriately named!
The auditorium has a capacity of 1618, and is air-conditioned, infra-red, loop sound amplification and services for wheel chair users. The Prince Edward is currently home to The Jersey Boys, and is a big success!

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