The Duchess Theatre is a theatre in West End of London situated on Catherine Street near Aldwcyh. It is now owned and operated by Nimax Theatres. Duchess theatre tickets are available to buy online from official ticket agents and from the Aldwych Theatre directly.
The theatre opened on 25th November, 1929 with Tunnel Trench, by Hubert Griffith. A play featuring Emlyn Williams in the cast. The duchess Theatre is one of the smallest ''proscenium arched'' West End theatres, which means its primary feature at the front of the stage is a large frame or arch (called the proscenium arch)
This ‘modern Tudor gothic’ style theatre has a capacity of 479 seats, split on two levels. The Dress Circle and Orchestra Stalls. The sight-lines are excellent due to the Dress Circle being suspended from the roof.
The theatre was built by F.G Minter Ltd, for Arthur Gibbons, with the stalls below street level, to overcome the scale of the site, and the rights of neighbors to Ancient Lights. This design and build has proved problematic for the Theatre ever since as ground water has to be permanently pumped out of the basement by several dedicated pumps, rather like the bilge pumps on a boat.
Some of the theatres notable productions include:
Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit, which transferred from the Piccadilly Theatre to the St. James Theatre before moving to the Duchess Theatre where it completed a record run of 1,997 performances in 1942. Bill Naughton's play Alfie played at the Duchess in 1962. Famously, Lewis Gilbert saw the play and immediately contacted the writer with a view to a screen transfer. Tom Eyen's The Dirtiest Show in Town, which ran for just under 800 performances in the 1970s. Oh! Calcutta!, which transferred to the Duchess Theatre from the Royalty Theatre in December 1974. Oh! Calcutta! remained at the Duchess until 1980. The Royal Shakespeare Company’s The Herbal Bed by Peter Whelan which ran for six months from April to October 1997.
The Duchess has a record for one of the shortest runs in theatrical history the play called "The Intimate Revue" ran for one night only!
The theatre itself is fully air-conditioned and has a bar for the Dress Circle drinkers. The interior decoration as it is today was introduced in 1934 under the supervision of Mary Wyndham Lewis, wife of J B Priestley. Disabled access is possible in select seats in the Stalls, which have to be booked in advance.
The Duchess theatre is currently showing Ectasy and Butley, and is easily accessible with the closest tube being Covent Garden. Duchess theatre tickets
for both these shows are available now.
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