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Peacock Theatre

The current Peacock Theatre opened its doors in 1960, although a theatre has stood on the site since the 17th century. It is owned by, and forms part of, the London School of Economics and hosts dance performances and ballet, as well as pop concerts. It is also the home of the Sadler's Wells dance company.

Located on Portugal Street, within walking distance of the Strand and Covent Garden, the theatre accommodates 999 people across two levels, stalls and circle. It is four minutes from Holborn tube station and six minutes from Covent Garden and Temple. 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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