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Lyceum Theatre

Lyceum Theatre

A guide to the Lyceum Theatre in London's West End

The Lyceum Theatre has been a staple in London's theatreland since 1765, although the venue opened at its current location in 1834. Since then, it has enjoyed a chequered history before being restored and converted back to a theatre in 1996. It has been the home of the smash musical The Lion King since 1999.

Situated off the Strand within walking distance of Leicester Square and Covent Garden, the theatre is close to a wide range of popular restaurants, bars and clubs. It's easy to combine your visit with a great lastminute.com theatre meal, or to explore the West End bars and clubs after the show.

Easily accessible from Covent Garden tube station (300m) and Charing Cross (600m) the Lyceum Theatre can seat 2,100 people across three levels: orchestra stalls, royal and grand circle. Of the original 1834 building, now Grade I listed, only the imposing classical facade and portico survive. The Rococo-style interior dates back to 1904 and provides a wonderful setting for a very special occasion for couples or families.

The history

The Lyceum went up at an adjacent site to its current location in the 18th century, where it was home to both musical entertainments and to performances by the legendary actor David Garrick. It subsequently hosted a circus, prayer meetings and the first Madame Tussauds waxworks show.

After the building burnt down it re-opened as the English Opera House before burning down for a second time. It was the first London theatre to be lit by gaslight and gave the London premiere of Cosi fan Tutte. After it was rebuilt for a second time, the theatre became well known for its adaptations of Charles Dickens novels. Then, in 1830, the theatre became famous for its many productions starring Sir Henry Irving and Ellen Terry.

After being rebuilt yet again in 1904 by Bertie Crewe, the Lyceum mainly staged melodramas before closing in 1939 and being scheduled for demolition. It was saved and converted into a Mecca ballroom in 1951, staging concerts in the 1960s, '70s and '80s by bands including The Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin and The Clash.

A proposed re-development by the GLC of Covent Garden in 1968 placed the theatre under threat yet again until a massive campaign saved it. Finally, after hosting promenade performances of the National Theatre's production of Bill Bryden's adaptation of the Mysteries in 1985, it was restored and re-converted into a venue suitable for large-scale musicals in 1996 and staged Jesus Christ Superstar from 1996 until 1998.

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Where is the Lyceum Theatre?

Address

  • Wellington Street
    London
    WC2E 7RQ

Phone number

  • 0844 871 7627

 

How to get to the Lyceum Theatre?

Access by tube

  • Covent Garden
  • Charing Cross

By bus

  • To Aldwych: RV1, X68, 1, 6, 11, 13, 23, 59, 68, 87, 168, 171, 172, 188, 243
  • To the Strand: 4, 9, 15, 26, 76, 91, 139, 176, 34

By car

  • The nearest car parks are Covent Garden and Chinatown