- Garrick Theatre
name = Garrick Theatre
caption = Garrick Theatre, July 2007
Charing Cross Road
city = Westminster,
designation = Grade II* listed
latitude = 51.509722
longitude = -0.128056
Walter Emden, with C. J. Phipps
owner = Nimax Theatres
capacity = 656 on 3 levels (1889 800 on 4 levels)
West End theatre
opened = 24 April 1889
website = http://www.nimaxtheatres.com/garricktheatre.aspThe Garrick Theatre is a
West End theatre, located on Charing Cross Road, in the City of Westminster. It opened on April 24 1889with "The Profligate", a play by Arthur Wing Pinero. In its early years, it appears to have specialised in the performance of melodrama, and today the theatre is a " receiving house" for a variety of productions. The theatre is named for David Garrick, considered the most influential Shakespeareanactor. [Holland, Peter. "David Garrick". in Banham, Martin, ed. "The Cambridge Guide to Theatre". London, Cambridge University Press. 1995. pp. 411-412]
The Garrick Theatre was financed in 1889 by the playwright
W. S. Gilbert, the author of over 75 plays, including the Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas. It was designed by Walter Emden, with C. J. Phipps brought in as a consultant to help with the planning on the difficult site, which included an underground river. Originally the theatre had 800 seats on 4 levels, but the gallery (top) level has since been closed and the seating capacityreduced to 656.
A proposed redevelopment of
Covent Gardenby the GLC in 1968 saw the theatre under threat, together with the nearby Vaudeville, Adelphi, Lyceum and Duchess theatres. An active campaign by Equity, the Musicians' Union, and theatre owners under the auspices of the "Save London Theatres Campaign" led to the abandonment of the scheme. [http://www.vaudevilletheatre.org.uk/ Vaudeville Theatre] accessed 28 Mar 2007]
The gold leaf auditorium was restored in 1986 by the stage designer Carl Toms, and in 1997 the front façade was renovated. The theatre has mostly been associated with comedies or comedy-dramas.
Sydney Grundy's long-running French-style comedy "A Pair of Spectacles" opened here in February, 1890. Mrs Patrick Campbellstarred five years later in Pinero's "The Notorious Mrs. Ebbsmith". Afterwards, the theatre suffered a short period of decline until it was leased by Arthur Bourchier, whose wife, Violet Vanbrugh, starred in a series of successful productions ranging from farce to Shakespeare. [ [http://www.victorianweb.org/mt/theaters/pva234.html Information about the theatre and other Victorian theatres] ] In 1900, the theatre hosted J. M. Barrie's "The Wedding Guest". Rutland Barringtonpresented several stage works at the Garrick, including his popular "fairy play" called " Water Babies" in 1902, based on Charles Kingsley's book, with music by Alfred Cellier, among others. The only piece actually premiered by W. S. Gilbert here was "Harlequin and the Fairy's Dilemma" (retitled "The Fairy's Dilemma" after a few days) a "Domestic Pantomime" (1904). In 1921, Basil Rathboneplayed Dr. Lawson in "The Edge o' Beyond" at the Garrick, and the following year Sir Seymour Hicksappeared in his own play, "The Man in Dress Clothes". In 1925 Henry Daniellplayed there as Jack Race in "Cobra" and appeared there again as Paul Cortot in "Marriage by Purchase" in March 1932.
More recent productions are listed below and include "
No Sex Please, We're British" (1982), which played for four years at the theatre before transferreing to the Duchess Theatrein 1986. On October 24 1995, the Royal National Theatre's multi-award winning production of J. B. Priestley's " An Inspector Calls" opened here, having played successful seasons at the Royal National Theatre's Lyttelton and Olivier theatres as well as the Aldwych Theatreand a season on Broadway.
In 1986, the Garrick was acquired by the Stoll Moss Group, and, in 2000, it became a "Really Useful Theatre" when
Andrew Lloyd-Webber's Really Useful Groupand Bridgepoint Capital purchased Stoll Moss Theatres Ltd. In October 2005, Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer purchased the Garrick Theatre, and it became one of five playhouses operating under their company name of Nimax Theatres Ltd, alongside the Lyric Theatre, Apollo Theatre, Vaudeville Theatreand Duchess Theatre.
The interior retains many of its original features, and was Grade II* listed by
English Heritage, in September 1960 [ [http://www.imagesofengland.org.uk/search/details.aspx?pid=2&id=209097 English Heritage listing details] accessed 28 Apr 2007] .
Laurence Olivierdirected Jack Buchananin "Born Yesterday", with Coral Browne in a revival of Frederick Lonsdale's "Canaries Sometimes Sing".
Richard Attenboroughand Yolanda Donlantransferred from the Savoy Theatrein "To Dorothy a Son".
*1955 - The revue "La Plume de Ma Tante" was an enormous success, during the run of which
Jack Buchanandied, in 1957.
Dora Bryanin "Living for Pleasure".
Margaret Rutherfordand Peggy Mountin "Farewell Farewell Eugene".
*1960 - The Stratford East production of
Lionel Bart's "Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'Be" began a long run with Miriam Karlin.
Sheila Hancockin " Rattle of a Simple Man".
Brian Rixpresented and appeared in "Stand By Your Bedouin", the first in a season of farces, including "Uproar in the House" and "Let Sleeping Wives Lie".
*1971 - The last of these farces was "Don't Just Lie There Say Something".
Antony Shaffer's"Sleuth" transferred.
*1973 - "Dandy Dick" starred
Robert Stigwoodpresented "Aspects of Max Wall" for a six-week sell-out season.
Richard Beckinsdaleheadlined the risque comedy "Funny Peculiar".
*1977 - "
Side By Side By Sondheim" transferred and was a continuing success with its third cast.
Ira Levin's thriller "Deathtrap" began a long run until 1981.
*1982 - "
No Sex Please, We're British" transferred from The Strand Theatre and remained until 1986.
Judi Denchand Michael Williams in "Mr and Mrs Nobody".
William Gauntand Susie Blakein "When Did You Last See Your Trousers?" by Ray Galtonand John Antrobus.
*1988 - Jane How and Zena Walker transferred from The King's Head, in Islington in
Noel Coward's "Easy Virtue".
Rupert Everettand Maria Aitkenin another Coward, "The Vortex"; and Timberlake Wertenbaker's "Our Country's Good" transferred from the Royal Court Theatre.
*1990 - Short seasons of "Bent" with
Ian McKellenand Michael Cashman, Frankie Howerdin "Fences with Yaphet Kotto" are followed by the first major West End transfer from the newly-managed Almeida Theatrewith "The Rehearsal" by Jean Anouilh.
Brian Friel's "Dancing at Lughnasa" transferred from the Phoenix Theatre
John Godber's "On the Piste" and Steven Berkoff's "One Man".
Tom Courtenayin "Moscow Stations" and a festive season with "Fascinating Aida".
*1995 - "The Live Bed Show" with
Paul Mertonand Caroline Quentin, the Abbey Theatre production of Sean O'Casey's "The Plough and the Stars" and Clarke Peters in "Unforgettable - The Nat King Cole Story", precede the arrival of the Royal National Theatre's " An Inspector Calls", which began its second prologned season in the West End.
*2001 - "Feelgood" transferred from
Hampstead Theatrefollowed by J B Priestley's "Dangerous Corner".
*2002 - The hit British premiere production of "
This is Our Youth" plays two seasons either side of a successful run of " The Lieutenant of Inishmore".
*2003 - The fourth cast of "This is Our Youth", followed by "Jus' Like That!',
Ross Nobleand "Wait Until Dark".
*2004 - "The Solid Gold Cadillac",
Ricky Gervaisworkshopped his latest stand-up venture, "Politics", followed by a revival of David Mamet's "Oleanna" and "The Solid Gold Cadillac", starring Patricia Routledgeand Roy Hudd.
*2005 - "You Never Can Tell",
*2005 - "On The Ceiling",
*2005 - "Elmina's Kitchen",
*2005 - "The Anniversary",
*2006 - "Jeffrey Barnard is Unwell" starring
*2006 - "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest",
Christian Slaterand Alex Kingston
*2007 - Young British actress
Billie Pipermakes her stage debut in a new production of Christopher Hampton's " Treats"
*2007 - ""
*2007 - "
Absurd Person Singular"
*2008 - "
Peter Pan - El Musical"
*2008 - "
Derren Brown's "Mind Reader"
*2008 - "Zorro"
* "Guide to British Theatres 1750-1950", John Earl and Michael Sell pp. 111 (Theatres Trust, 2000) ISBN 0-7136-5688-3
* "Who's Who in the Theatre", edited by John Parker, tenth edition, revised, London, 1947, pps: 477-478 and 1184.
* [http://www.nimaxtheatres.com/ Nimax Theatres web site covering the Garrick, Apollo, Duchess, Lyric and Vaudeville theatres]
* [http://www.arthurlloyd.co.uk/GarrickTheatre.htm Article on Garrick Theatre]
* [https://www.nimaxtheatres.com/garricktheatre.asp Garrick Theatre historical timeline on the Nimax Theatres web site]
* [http://www.garrick-theatre.com Garrick Theatre ticket site (not owned by Nimax Theatres)]
* [http://www.garrick-theatre.co.uk Garick Theatre UK ticket site (not owned by Nimax Theatres)]
* [http://www.victorianweb.org/mt/theaters/pva234.html Information about the Garrick and other Victorian theatres]
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