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Gielgud Theatre

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

The Gielgud Theatre, which originally opened its doors as the Hicks Theatre back in 1903, has staged many landmark classic drama productions featuring some of the country's most celebrated actors. These include Richard Burton, Vanessa Redgrave and Paul Schofield, as well as hit comedies and smash musicals. Located at the heart of London's theatreland, the venue is in a great location if you want to combine your visit with drinks at one of the many popular pubs. Or how about a meal at one of dozens of good restaurants nearby.

Situated on Shaftesbury Avenue, the Gielgud Theatre is just three minutes walk from Piccadilly Circus tube station, four minutes from Leicester Square and six minutes from Tottenham Court Road. Behind the striking exterior which at four storeys high plus turret looms over theatreland's main thoroughfare is an opulent interior. This has lavishly decorated pillars supporting theatre boxes and rich Baroque ornamentation. We think it will help make your special day out to the West End a day to remember, whoever you're going with.

The history

The theatre which subsequently changed its name to the Globe Theatre in 1909 before its latest re-naming, is one of 30 London venues designed by W G R Sprague. Its opening production was The Beauty of Bath by Seymour Hicks and Cosmo Hamilton for whom the theatre was built. Since then the theatre has combined stagings of acclaimed 'classic' drama, including Shakespeare, Schiller, Peter Shaffer and Noel Coward, with popular comedies. These include Daisy Pulls It Off, which ran for 1,180 performances and There's a Girl in my Soup, which opened in 1966 and ran for three years. Other popular draws in recent times include Chariots of Fire, The Ladykillers, Avenue Q and The Audience, starring Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II.

The theatre has also been a major venue for transfers of successful regional productions including the acclaimed 2005 Sheffield Theatre's production of Schiller's Don Carlos starring Derek Jacobi. In 2007 it hosted Chichester's production of Macbeth with Patrick Stewart in the title role and in 2006, the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Arthur Miller's The Crucible featuring Iain Glen. Other actors to have appeared at the Gielgud include Tallulah Bankhead back in 1925 in Noel Coward's Fallen Angels, The Lady's Not for Burning by Christopher Fry (1945) which featured Richard Burton, and A Man for All Seasons with Paul Schofield (1960).

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