Garrick Theatre

Garrick Theatre

Infobox Theatre
name = Garrick Theatre

caption = Garrick Theatre, July 2007
address = Charing Cross Road
city = Westminster, London
country =
designation = Grade II* listed
latitude = 51.509722
longitude = -0.128056
architect = Walter Emden, with C. J. Phipps
owner = Nimax Theatres
capacity = 656 on 3 levels (1889 800 on 4 levels)
type = West End theatre
opened = 24 April 1889
yearsactive =
rebuilt =
closed =
othernames =
production =
currentuse =
website =
The Garrick Theatre is a West End theatre, located on Charing Cross Road, in the City of Westminster. It opened on April 24 1889 with "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 Shakespearean actor. [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 capacity reduced to 656.

A proposed redevelopment of Covent Garden by 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. [ 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 Campbell starred 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. [ [ Information about the theatre and other Victorian theatres] ] In 1900, the theatre hosted J. M. Barrie's "The Wedding Guest". Rutland Barrington presented 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 Rathbone played Dr. Lawson in "The Edge o' Beyond" at the Garrick, and the following year Sir Seymour Hicks appeared in his own play, "The Man in Dress Clothes". In 1925 Henry Daniell played 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 Theatre in 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 Theatre and 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 Group and 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 Theatre and Duchess Theatre.

The interior retains many of its original features, and was Grade II* listed by English Heritage, in September 1960 [ [ English Heritage listing details] accessed 28 Apr 2007] .

Recent productions

*1947 - Laurence Olivier directed Jack Buchanan in "Born Yesterday", with Coral Browne in a revival of Frederick Lonsdale's "Canaries Sometimes Sing".
*1950 - Richard Attenborough and Yolanda Donlan transferred from the Savoy Theatre in "To Dorothy a Son".
*1955 - The revue "La Plume de Ma Tante" was an enormous success, during the run of which Jack Buchanan died, in 1957.
*1958 - Dora Bryan in "Living for Pleasure".
*1959 - Margaret Rutherford and Peggy Mount in "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.
*1962 - Sheila Hancock in "Rattle of a Simple Man".
*1967 - Brian Rix presented 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".
*1972 - Antony Shaffer's "Sleuth" transferred.
*1973 - "Dandy Dick" starred Alastair Sim.
*1975 - Robert Stigwood presented "Aspects of Max Wall" for a six-week sell-out season.
*1976 - Richard Beckinsdale headlined the risque comedy "Funny Peculiar".
*1977 - "Side By Side By Sondheim" transferred and was a continuing success with its third cast.
*1978 - 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.
*1986 - Judi Dench and Michael Williams in "Mr and Mrs Nobody".
*1987 - William Gaunt and Susie Blake in "When Did You Last See Your Trousers?" by Ray Galton and John Antrobus.
*1988 - Jane How and Zena Walker transferred from The King's Head, in Islington in Noel Coward's "Easy Virtue".
*1989 - Rupert Everett and Maria Aitken in 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 McKellen and Michael Cashman, Frankie Howerd in "Fences with Yaphet Kotto" are followed by the first major West End transfer from the newly-managed Almeida Theatre with "The Rehearsal" by Jean Anouilh.
*1991 - Brian Friel's "Dancing at Lughnasa" transferred from the Phoenix Theatre
*1993 - John Godber's "On the Piste" and Steven Berkoff's "One Man".
*1994 - Tom Courtenay in "Moscow Stations" and a festive season with "Fascinating Aida".
*1995 - "The Live Bed Show" with Paul Merton and 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 Theatre followed 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 Noble and "Wait Until Dark".
*2004 - "The Solid Gold Cadillac", Patricia Routledge.
*2004 - Ricky Gervais workshopped his latest stand-up venture, "Politics", followed by a revival of David Mamet's "Oleanna" and "The Solid Gold Cadillac", starring Patricia Routledge and Roy Hudd.
*2005 - "You Never Can Tell", Edward Fox
*2005 - "On The Ceiling", Ralf Little
*2005 - "Elmina's Kitchen", Kwame Kwei-Armah)
*2005 - "The Anniversary", Sheila Hancock
*2006 - "Jeffrey Barnard is Unwell" starring Tom Conti
*2006 - "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", Christian Slater and Alex Kingston
*2007 - Young British actress Billie Piper makes 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.

External links

* [ Nimax Theatres web site covering the Garrick, Apollo, Duchess, Lyric and Vaudeville theatres]
* [ Article on Garrick Theatre]
* [ Garrick Theatre historical timeline on the Nimax Theatres web site]
* [ Garrick Theatre ticket site (not owned by Nimax Theatres)]
* [ Garick Theatre UK ticket site (not owned by Nimax Theatres)]
* [ Information about the Garrick and other Victorian theatres]

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