Lyric Theatre, London

Lyric Theatre

The Lyric Theatre in April 2007
Address Shaftesbury Avenue
London, W1
United Kingdom
Coordinates 51°30′40″N 0°08′02″W / 51.511111°N 0.133889°W / 51.511111; -0.133889
Public transit London Underground Piccadilly Circus
Owner Nimax Theatres
Designation Grade II
Type West End theatre
Capacity 967 on four levels
(1,306 originally)
Production Thriller – Live
Opened 17 December 1888 (1888-12-17)
Architect C. J. Phipps
Website (Official Website)

The Lyric Theatre is a West End theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue in the City of Westminster.

Designed by the architect C. J. Phipps, it was built by the producer Henry Leslie with profits from the Alfred Cellier and B. C. Stephenson hit, Dorothy (he made £100,000 from this opera),[1] which he transferred from the Prince of Wales Theatre to open his new venue on 17 December 1888. It was the second theatre to be constructed on this stretch of Shaftesbury Avenue and is now the oldest in the street. The foyer and bars were refurbished in 1932–33, and the facade was restored in 1994. At present it seats 967 on four levels, although it originally was designed with a seating capacity of 1,306. The theatre still uses an electric pump to operate its iron curtain.

Early in the theatre's history, it staged mostly comic operas, and later it has been a home to light comedies, musicals and straight dramas.

The theatre retains many of its original features (including being built behind an original 1767 house front, at the rear to Great Windmill Street, the former house and museum of Sir William Hunter) and the theatre was Grade II listed by English Heritage in September 1960.[2]

The Lyric Theatre still uses water to operate its iron curtain. The water was originally pumped from the river Thames to all West End theatres and hotels and used to hydraulically operate heavy machinery lilke lifts. Curtain in The Lyrics Theatre is now operated via electric pump but it can also be operated manually by two people.

The Lyric Theatre is owned by Nimax Theatres from 2005 when Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer purchased it. In 2005 they established Nimax Theatres.

Notable productions


Guide to British Theatres 1750–1950, John Earl and Michael Sell pp. 124–5 (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.

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