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Peacock Theatre

Throughout its chequered history, the Peacock Theatre has been at the cutting edge of innovative productions in the West End. Occupying a block on Kingsway between Sardinia Street and Portugal Street, the theatre is now owned by the London School of Economics and doubles as a lecture hall by day and a 999-seat show venue by night. It is also one of the principal stages of the Sadler's Wells dance company and regularly hosts contemporary dance troupes from all over the world. The current theatre was built in 1960. Previously known as The Royal, it was renamed after Michael Peacock, one of the theatre's long-time benefactors, in 1996. The theatre is situated halfway between Holborn tube station on the Central and Piccadilly lines and Temple station on the District and Circle lines. Several bus routes stop in close proximity to the venue. The Peacock theatre is accessible for wheelchair users. There are stairs as well as a lift to all floors, specifically for those who cannot access the auditorium via the stairs. The theatre's seating is raked, with two aisles leading down towards the stage in shallow steps. You can choose your preferred seats from the Peacock Theatre seating plan when purchasing tickets online or from the theatre's box office. The venue is also close to popular restaurants and bars, such as the Lobby Bar at One Aldwych, voted one of the top hotel bars in the world by a leading newspaper. It makes it a great venue of you're looking to combine your visit with a meal, or pre- or post-theatre drinks.

The history

The original theatre has the distinction of being the first theatre, which is known to have featured a woman on stage. This happened in 1660 in a production of Othello. The theatre was destroyed by fire in 1809. In 1911, following major redevelopment in the area, a new venue was commissioned by Oscar Hammerstein II and the venue opened that same year. After difficulty in attracting custom away from the Royal Opera House, the venue became the National Theatre of England. It was bought by Oswald Stoll in 1916, renamed the Stoll Theatre and began showing silent cinema, lavish stage shows and spectacular shows on ice. It closed in 1957 following a transfer of the Stratford-upon-Avon production of Titus Andronicus with Laurence Olivier. The theatre was demolished the following year, to be replaced by an office block. The present, much smaller building was developed in the basement and opened in 1960 as The Royalty Theatre. It became the first West End theatre to be built since the Saville Theatre in 1931. After a lacklustre period it achieved some measure of success as the venue for TV's This is Your Life before being acquired by the London School of Economics (LSE) which renamed it The Peacock Theatre.

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