Housed in an immaculate Grade II listed building, the Novello Theatre in Aldwych is adjacent to the prestigious Waldorf Hilton Hotel. This intimate venue has a capacity of 1,105 seats and was known as the Strand Theatre from 1913 to 2005. Close to the fabulous shops of The Strand and just minutes from the beautiful Embankment, the venue is centrally located and within walking distance of Temple, Covent Garden and Holborn Underground stations.
First named the Waldorf Theatre, the Novello Theatre opened in May 1905, when it began a two-month opera and drama season starring the famous opera singers Edouard de Reszke and Emma Calve. During 1942, in the midst of the darkness and uncertainty of the Second World War, the venue continued to serve the community, proudly producing the comedy Arsenic and Old Lace, which had been performed 1,337 times by March 1946.
One of the theatre's most successful productions has been the jukebox musical and global sensation Mamma Mia!, which has been held at numerous other West End Theatres and is one of the bestselling musicals of all time. Other hit shows here include No Sex Please - We're British (1971), which culminated in an astonishing 6,671 performances, while The Real Thing (1982) explored affairs of the heart (affaires de coeur) and featured distinguished actors Roger Rees and Felicity Kendal.
To mark its 100th anniversary in 2005, the Novello Theatre held some of the great Shakespearean classics, including As You Like It, The Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night's Dream. In the same year, the theatre also received a œ4.5 million renovation, re-opening on December 8th, 2005 with the new name. In 2007, the venue also presented the musical adaptation of the 1985 comedy-drama film Desperately Seeking Susan, perhaps best known for staring the international music icon Madonna.
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