25 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About London Theatre

  1. The Globe theatre is the only building in London permitted to have a thatched roof since the Great Fire of 1666.
  2. The Dominion theatre was built on the site of the Horse Shoe Brewery at which the devastating Beer Flood occurred in 1814, killing 8 people.
  3. The sound effect of the Crunchem Hall School bell played at the start of Matilda The Musical is a recording of the actual hand bell used by RSC front of house staff in Stratford-upon-Avon.
  4. Bram Stoker worked as acting manager at the Lyceum theatre between 1878 and 1898. Whilst employed there, he wrote his famous Gothic horror novel, Dracula.
  5. Every member of the War Horse cast has a clause in their contract that states they cannot ride a real horse in case of injury.
  6. Disney’s The Lion King closely follows the plot of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
  7. In Wicked, the exact shade of Elphaba’s make up is MAC Landscape Green.
  8. The Fortune was the first theatre to be built in London after the end of the First World War.
  9. The foyer bar at the Prince Edward theatre is called the Mozart Bar because Mozart and his father once lived at 28 Frith Street, now the theatre’s stage door.
  10. The famous chandelier in The Phantom of the Opera weighs one tonne.
  11. Established in 1978, Dress Circle is the longest running musical theatre specialist shop in the world. Although the shop in Covent Garden closed down in 2013, the store still operates online.
  12. The National Theatre Costume and Props Hire department houses between 80,000-85,000 costumes worn on the National theatre stage, all of which are available for the public to hire.
  13. The Duchess theatre holds the West End record for the shortest running play ever for the “run” of ‘The Intimate Revue’ that closed before the curtain had fallen on its first performance.
  14. The Savoy theatre was the first public building in the world to be lit throughout by electricity.
  15. Someone who invests money in a theatrical production is called a Theatre Angel.
  16. The Mousetrap is the longest running play in the world. It has been playing in London since 25 November 1952.
  17. Polka Theatre in Wimbledon was the first theatre in the UK to be exclusively dedicated to children when it opened in November 1979.
  18. Sadler’s Wells takes its name from its founder Richard Sadler and monastic springs that were discovered on the property. Rich patrons would attend to watch shows and take the water which was believed to have healing properties.
  19. The Lyric Hammersmith theatre was nearly demolished in the early 1970s to make way for a new shopping centre and housing. Fortunately, it was saved from demolition, dismantled and rebuilt at a new location nearby.
  20. The Theatre Royal Haymarket was the first London theatre to introduce matinée performances back in 1873.
  21. Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre has the longest theatre bar in London. It stretches the entire width of the auditorium.
  22. The Peacock theatre is owned by the London School of Economics and is used as a lecture theatre during the day.
  23. Beneath the floor of the Bridewell theatre‘s auditorium lies a disused Victorian swimming pool.
  24. Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, the English architect who designed the Phoenix theatre, also worked on structures such as Waterloo Bridge, Battersea Power Station and the iconic red telephone box.
  25. Each performance of Les Misérables uses 392 costumes including 5,000 separate pieces of clothing and 85 wigs.


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