Currently showing at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Theatre Royal Drury Lane

A guide to the historic Theatre Royal Drury Lane

The Theatre Royal Drury Lane is one of London's most established theatres and holds world-class performances with some of the most distinguished names in theatre. The venue has two beautiful royal boxes and has accommodated every monarch since the 17th century.

England's oldest theatre still in operation

It was on the first day of 1663 that the theatre, on Brydges Street at the time, opened to the public, boasting an impressive capacity of 2,188 seats. Unfortunately, the theatre suffered three serious setbacks in the subsequent years. In 1665, it closed during the Great Plague, in the following year it was forced to close during the Great Fire, and in 1672 the venue suffered extensive damage and had to close its doors yet again.

From plague and fire to kings and queens, an incredible legacy

Fortunately, the theatre was revived and opened again in 1674. The new building was designed by one of the most celebrated architects in England, Sir Christopher Wren, who designed many of London's most iconic landmarks such as the new St Paul's Cathedral and a section of the great Hampton Court Palace. Towards the end of the 18th century, the theatre was redesigned once more. The new venue accommodated 3,600 people, although this was deemed too large, and many people complained that the new design lacked the intimacy essential for theatres. Consequently, the theatre was redesigned again in 1812, when the seating capacity was reduced to approximately 3,100, although this was still particularly large for a theatre venue.

Still one the West End's best theatre's

The venue staged the renowned My Fair Lady show from 1958 to 1963, which included 2,281 performances and became the longest running show in the theatre's history. The theatre also presented the first musical adaption of Gone With The Wind in 1972 and produced 492 performances of Lord of the Rings the Musical in July 2008, which received critical acclaim for its costume designs and became the most expensive musical ever to be produced in the UK at the time.

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