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Duke of York's Theatre

The Duke of York's Theatre in London's West End

The Duke of York's Theatre began life as The Trafalgar Square Theatre, opening on St Martin's Lane, the first to do so, in 1892. Among its claims to fame is the staging of the play Madame Butterfly by David Belasco in 1900 which was seen and subsequently turned into the much better known opera by Puccini. It also staged the début of J M Barrie's Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up in 1904. More recently it’s best known as a venue for drama, comedies and musicals including The Rocky Horror Show (1973).

The theatre is located at the heart of the West End close to attractions such as the National Gallery and Covent Garden. It’s also within easy walking distance of popular restaurants and pubs making it an ideal venue if you want to enjoy pre- or post-theatre drinks or a great lastminute.com theatre meal deal. The venue seats 640 people over three levels: stalls, dress circle and upper circle. It’s a very short walk from Leicester Square tube station, and only slightly further to Charing Cross and Covent Garden. The venue, which was renovated in 2014, is today one of the most successful theatres in the West End. With its blend of style and quality programming it makes a great venue for that special family day out or theatre for two.

The history

The theatre was designed by the architect Frank Emden and originally had real fires in the auditorium, the only theatre in London to do so. Early successes included Go Bang, a musical comedy, Jerome K Jerome's Miss Hobbs and Madame Butterfly. It attracted many of the stars of the day including Basil Rathbone, today best known for his film roles as Sherlock Holmes. He starred as Alfred Mussett in Madame Sand in 1920.

In the late 1970s the freehold was bought by Capital Radio and the venue closed for refurbishment in 1970. It reopened in 1980 with a production of Rose starring Glenda Jackson. The venue was then bought by the Ambassador Theatre Group in 1992 which saw a massive hit with Death and the Maiden by Ariel Dorfman starring Juliet Stevenson, Bill Paterson and Michael Byrne after the play transferred from The Royal Court. 

More recent productions have included Under the Blue Sky by David Eldridge with Catherine Tate, Francesca Annis and Dominic Rowan, Backbeat, an adaptation of the film about The Beatles by Adrian Softley, No Man's Land by Harold Pinter starring Michael Gambon and David Bradley, That Face by Polly Stenham with Lindsey Duncan, Hannah Murray and Matt Smith and Rent Remixed with Denise van Outen.

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