Gielgud Theatre

Gielgud Theatre

Infobox Theatre
name = Gielgud Theatre

caption = "Don Carlos" 2005
address = Shaftesbury Avenue
city = Westminster, London
country =
designation = Grade II listed
latitude = 51.511611
longitude = -0.133
architect = W.G.R. Sprague
owner = Delfont Mackintosh
capacity = 973 on three levels
type = West End theatre
opened = 27 December 1906
yearsactive =
rebuilt =
closed =
othernames = 1906 Hicks Theatre 1909 Globe Theatre
production = THEATRE DARK - Awaiting Show
currentuse =
website =

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.


, which opened in 1907 on the adjacent street corner.

The first play at the 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. [ [ Seymour Hicks ] ]

In 1909, the house was renamed the Globe Theatre. 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 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.

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.

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.

Notable productions

*1907: "Brewster's Millions" by Winchell Smith & Byron Ongley
*1908: "A Waltz Dream" an operetta by Oscar Straus
*1914: "Kismet", a revival of Edward Knoblock's play, with Henry Daniell in his London debut.
*1916: "Peg O' My Heart" by John Hartley Manners
*1920: "Fédora", a revival of the 1882 play by Victorien Sardou, with Basil Rathbone as Loris Ipanoff
*1925: "Fallen Angels" by Noël Coward, starring Tallulah Bankhead
*1931: "The Improper Duchess" by James B. Fagan, starring Yvonne Arnaud
*1935: "Call it a Day" by Dodie Smith
*1939: "The Importance of Being Earnest" by Oscar Wilde, with John Gielgud starring as well as directing
*1942: "The Petrified Forest" by Robert Sherwood
*1949: "The Lady's Not for Burning" by Christopher Fry, with Richard Burton in a supporting role
*1959: "The Complaisant Lover" by Graham Greene, starring Ralph Richardson
*1960: "A Man For All Seasons" by Robert Bolt, starring Paul Scofield
*1966: "There's a Girl in My Soup" by Terence Frisby
*1966: "The Matchgirls" by Bill Owen
*1976: A season of Barry Humphries as "Dame Edna Everage"
*1982: "Design for Living" by Noël Coward, starring Vanessa Redgrave
*1983: "Daisy Pulls It Off" by Densie Deegan
*1987: "Lettice and Lovage" by Peter Shaffer, starring Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack
*1990: "Man of the Moment" by Alan Ayckbourn
*1992: "An Ideal Husband" by Oscar Wilde
*1995: "Design for Living", starring Rachel Weisz

Recent and present productions

*2003: "Tell Me on a Sunday" by Andrew Lloyd Webber, with Denise Van Outen
*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: "The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickelby: Part One" by Charles Dickens
*2007: "The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickelby: Part Two" by Charles Dickens
*2008: Carl Rosa Opera presents "The Gilbert & Sullivan Season"
*2008: "God of Carnage" by Yasmina Reza, with Ralph Fiennes and Tamsin Greig


* The Gielgud/Globe used to be home to a resident theatre cat named Beerbohm, who is 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.



* [ History of the theatre]
* [ History and photos of the theatre and other images]
* [ Description of the theatre and its architecture]
* [ Profile of theatre with list of productions]
* [ Profile of the theatre]
* [ Another profile of the theatre]

Further reading

* "Guide to British Theatres 1750-1950", John Earl and Michael Sell pp. 112 (Theatres Trust, 2000) ISBN 0-7136-5688-3
* "Who's Who in the Theatre", edited by John Parker, tenth edition, revised, London, 1947, pp. 477-478 and 1183.
* Bergan, Ronald, "The Great Theatres of London. An Illustrated Companion" (Prion, 1990) (ISBN 1-85375-057-3).
* Berry, Patricia Dee, "Theatrical London (Britain in Old Photographs" series) (Alan Sutton, 1995) (ISBN 0-7509-0942-0).

External links

* [ Gielgud Theatre] from the London Theatre Guide, a website of the Society of London Theatre
* [ Gielgud Theatre link from the London Theatre Land website]
* [ Profile of Seymour Hicks]
* [ Information about "Daisy Pulls It Off"]

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