About the theatre
The Gielgud Theatre is a West End theatre, located on Shaftesbury Avenue in the City of Westminster, London, at the corner of Rupert Street. The house currently has 889 seats on three levels.
The Gielgud Theatre is owned by Delfont Mackintosh Theatres.
The Gielgud Theatre opened on December 27, 1906 as the Hicks Theatre in honour of actor, manager and playwright Seymour Hicks, for whom it was built. Designed by W.G.R. Sprague in Louis XVI style, the theatre originally had 970 seats, but over the years boxes and other seats have been removed. The theatre is a pair with the Queen's Theatre, which opened in 1907 on the adjacent street corner.
The first play at the Gielgud Theatre was a musical called The Beauty of Bath by Hicks and Cosmo Hamilton. My Darling, another Hicks musical, followed in 1907, followed by the successful London production of the Straus operetta, A Waltz Dream in 1908. An astonishing event occurred midway through the run of the theatre's next major work, The Dashing Little Duke (1909), which was produced by Hicks. Hicks' wife, Ellaline Terriss, played the title role (a woman playing a man). When she missed several performances due to illness, Hicks stepped into the role — possibly the only case in the history of musical theatre where a husband succeeded to his wife's role.
In 1909, the American impresario Charles Frohman became sole manager of the theatre and renamed the house Globe Theatre and reopened with His Borrowed Plumes written by Winston Churchill's mother, Lady Randolph Churchill. Another "Globe Theatre", located on Newcastle Street, had been demolished in 1902 to make way for the Aldwych, and so the name became available. A number of notable productions ran at this Shaftesbury Avenue theatre and are listed below. Call It A Day by Dodie Smith opened in 1935 and ran for 509 performances, which was considered very successful for the slow inter-war years.
Terence Frisby's There's a Girl in My Soup, opening in 1966, ran for 1,064 performances at the theatre, a record that was not surpassed until Andrew Lloyd Webber's production of the Olivier Award-winning comedy Daisy Pulls It Off by Densie Deegan opened in April 1983 to run for 1,180 performances, the theatre's longest run. In 1987 Peter Shaffer's play Lettice and Lovage was a hit with Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack, running for 2 years. The Globe was the home of a resident theatre cat named Beerbohm. The tabby's portrait still hangs in the corridor near the stalls. Beerbohm appeared on stage at least once in every production, forcing the actors to improvise. He always chose to occupy certain actors' dressing rooms while they were at the theatre, including Peter Bowles, Michael Gambon and Penelope Keith. Beerbohm was mentioned several times on Desert Island Discs, and he was the only cat to have received a front page obituary in the theatrical publication, The Stage. He died in March 1995 at the age of 20.
Refurbished in 1987, with extensive work on the gold leaf in the auditorium, the theatre is particularly notable for its beautiful circular Regency staircase, oval gallery and tower. The theatre has presented several Alan Ayckbourn premieres, including 1990's Man of the Moment. More recently, Oscar Wilde's classic comedy, An Ideal Husband (1992) and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (2004) saw notable revivals.
In 1994, in anticipation of the 1997 opening of a reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre on the South Bank by Sam Wanamaker, the theatre was renamed in honour of British actor John Gielgud. In 2003, Sir Cameron Mackintosh announced plans to refurbish the Gielgud, including a joint entrance foyer, with the adjacent Queen's Theatre, facing on to Shaftesbury Avenue. Mackintosh's Delfont Mackintosh Theatres took over operational control of the Gielgud from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Theatres in 2006. The Delfont Mackintosh group also consists of the Noel Coward Theatre, Novello Theatre, Prince Edward Theatre, Prince of Wales Theatre, Queen's Theatre, and Wyndham's Theatre.
Work on the facade of the theatre started in March 2007 and the interior restoration, including reinstating the boxes at the back of the dress circle, was completed in January 2008.
Gielgud Theatre Recent and present productions
2003: Tell Me on a Sunday by Andrew Lloyd Webber, starring Denise Van Outen
2004: The RSC's All's Well That Ends Well, starring Judi Dench
2004: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, starring Christian Slater, Frances Barber and Mackenzie Crook
2005: Don Carlos by Friedrich Schiller, starring Derek Jacobi
2005: Some Girls by Neil LaBute, starring David Schwimmer and Catherine Tate
2005: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, starring Tara Fitzgerald
2006: The RSC's The Crucible, starring Iain Glen
2006: The RSC's The Canterbury Tales
2006: Frost/Nixon by Peter Morgan, starring Michael Sheen and Frank Langella
2007: Equus by Peter Shaffer, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Richard Griffiths
2007: Macbeth by William Shakespeare, starring Patrick Stewart
2007: Nicholas Nickleby
2008: Carl Rosa Opera presented a Gilbert and Sullivan season
2008: God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza, starring Ralph Fiennes and Tamsin Greig
2008: Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello, starring Ian McDiarmid
2008: Bill Bailey's Tinselworm
2009: Enjoy by Alan Bennett, starring Alison Steadman
2009: Avenue Q by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx
2010: Yes, Prime Minister by Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn, starring David Haig and Henry Goodman
2011: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
2011: Lend Me a Tenor
2011: The Ladykillers
2012: Chariots of Fire
2013: The Audience by Peter Morgan, starring Helen Mirren
2013: Private Lives by Noël Coward, starring Toby Stephens and Anna Chancellor
Current shows at Gielgud Theatre
News items for productions at Gielgud Theatre
Archive shows at Gielgud Theatre