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Garrick Theatre

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

The Garrick Theatre opened its doors on Charing Cross Road in 1889 with a production of Pinero's The Profligate, produced by and starring Sir John Hare. Since then it has staged a range of theatre including musicals, but is mainly associated with comedies or comedy dramas. It is within easy walking distance of attractions including Covent Garden and Leicester Square. It also offers easy access to lots of popular restaurants, bars and pubs This makes it ideal if you're looking to combine your visit with either a great theatre meal deal, or pre- or post-theatre drinks.

The theatre accommodates 656 people over three levels stalls, dress circle and upper circle. It is two minutes walk from Leicester Square tube station, four minutes from Charing Cross and five minutes from Covent Garden. The theatre was refurbished in the 1980s and retains many of its original Italian Renaissance-style interior including highly ornamental ceilings, mosaic floors, marble pilasters and ornate plasterwork. It makes for a sparkling setting for your visit for a special family day out, or a treat for two.

The history

The history of the Garrick Theatre has not been without incident and it faced the first of three major threats to its existence before it had even been built. Builders excavating the site discovered that an old river known in Roman times was flowing through the land. The scheme was nearly abandoned. However, the theatre, which was financed by W S Gilbert and designed by Walter Emden with C J Phipps, was finished, but a few years later it went into decline. It was revived by the English actress Violet Vanbrugh who, from 1900, appeared in a number of very successful productions there ranging from Shakespeare to farce.

In 1960, The Stratford East production of Lionel' Bart's Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'be began a long run. Aspects of Max Wall began a sell-out six-week season in 1975. Ira Levin's Deathtrap began a long run in 1978 and, in 1982, the farce, No Sex Please We're British, began a four-year run after transferring from the Strand.

In its time, the theatre escaped a threat in 1934 to convert it into a 'super cinema' and again in 1968, when the GLC backed down on its plans to demolish it along with a number of other nearby theatres.

More recently, productions have included the British premiere of This Our Youth starring Jake Gllyenhaal and subsequently Matt Damon. Others include Elmina's Kitchen by Kwame Kewi-Armah, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest with Christian Slater, and Treats by Christopher Hampton which saw the debut of Billie Piper.

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