Noel Coward Theatre history
After the Wyndham’s theatre was finished in November 1899, a vacant plot of land was unintentionally created on St Martin’s Lane behind the venue. In stepped Sir Charles Wyndham, who decided to build a new theatre there. It opened on 12th March 1903 with a frontage design in free classical style and an unusual interior in Louis XVI style.
An interesting feature is the pedestrian footbridge linking the Noel Coward with Wyndham’s theatre, set high above the street and acting as a 'secret' passage between the two buildings.
The first show to grace the stage of the Noel Coward Theatre was a play called Rosemary, starring Wyndham himself and his wife Mary Moore. Notable productions of the period included Fred Terry and Julia Neilson's annual six-month seasons between 1905 and 1913, when their highly successful production of The Scarlet Pimpernel was presented and revived six times!
Dion Boucicault, the famous playwright's son, became manager of the theatre in 1915 and presented five Christmas revivals of Peter Pan along with a number of other successful productions. The young Noel Coward presented the early play I'll Leave It To You at the venue, which received good reviews from the critics but didn't convince the paying public and closed after five weeks. It's ironic that, not far short of 100 years later, the venue was renamed in his honour.
1924 saw a production of George Bernard Shaw's St Joan, which starred Sybil Thorndike in the title role, enjoy great success. The 1930s and 40s saw John Gielgud's production of Hamlet, in which he starred, plus Romeo and Juliet starring John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier, Peggy Ashcroft and Edith Evans.
In the 1970s, both The National theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company presented well received seasons at the venue. And the first day of January 1973 saw the theatre renamed as The Albery in celebration of Sir Bronson Albery, the theatre’s manager for many decades.
In the 1980s, the theatre saw continued success as Children of a Lesser God, which debuted there in 1981, won the Olivier Award for Best New Play.
The spoof puppet musical Avenue Q came along in 2006 and ran for over three years. Since then, the theatre has presented a mixture of plays and musicals including Calendar Girls, Million Dollar Quartet and Hay Fever. In 2013, the theatre was taken over for a season of plays by the Michael Grandage Company.
Today it is operated by Delfont Mackintosh Theatres after they took over the freehold and management back in September of 2005.
It’s the big question – would you cheat to win the jackpot? Major Charles Ingram did, winning £1 million on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and starting the “coughing scandal”, for which he was convicted in 2001. Now James Graham has captured...
Booking from: Saturday, 31 March 2018 Booking until: Saturday, 16 June 2018
It’s 1930s Minnesota and the Laine household is on the brink of collapse – mired in debt, unwanted pregnancy and a decline in mental health. The last thing they need is any more trouble, but onwards it comes one fateful evening. Will the...
Booking from: Saturday, 30 December 2017 Booking until: Saturday, 24 March 2018
James Graham has apparently wanted to explore this subject for a long time. Now he's done it, in a play that stars Martin Freeman and Sarah Lancashire. It's called Labour of Love, a fresh new comedy that contemplates the “existential crisis of the...
Booking from: Saturday, 16 September 2017 Booking until: Saturday, 2 December 2017
When Cameron Macintosh decided to revive the 1960s musical Half a Sixpence, he had no idea it would prove such a huge hit. Re-imagined to perfection for the twenty first century, the results have thrilled audiences at the Chichester Festival Theatre...
Booking from: Saturday, 29 October 2016 Booking until: Saturday, 2 September 2017
Booking from: Friday, 8 July 2016 Booking until: Saturday, 27 August 2016 Running time: 2 hours
Booking from: Tuesday, 9 February 2016 Booking until: Saturday, 18 June 2016
Science has never been so interesting! Photograph 51, an award-winning play by the American playwright Anna Ziegler, tells the remarkable story of Rosalind Franklin, the scientist whose amazing X-ray diffraction images led to the discovery of DNA's...
Booking from: Saturday, 5 September 2015 Booking until: Thursday, 12 November 2015
The US playwright Arthur Miller is a name to conjure with, widely regarded as America's finest. This play won multiple awards when first staged on Broadway in 1949. And it's been filling theatres ever since, partly an essay in social criticism, part...
Booking from: Saturday, 9 May 2015 Booking until: Saturday, 18 July 2015 Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes
This is the stuff standing ovations are made of. And this show has received plenty. Meet the young Will Shakespeare, a man tormented by debt who is neck deep into a long period of writer's block and desperate for a smash hit. Shakespeare might be a...
Booking from: Wednesday, 2 July 2014 Booking until: Saturday, 18 April 2015 Running time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Booking from: Thursday, 10 April 2014 Booking until: Saturday, 14 June 2014 Running time: 2 hours
Booking from: Thursday, 20 February 2014 Booking until: Friday, 28 March 2014 Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Booking from: Saturday, 8 June 2013 Booking until: Saturday, 31 August 2013
Booking from: Saturday, 9 March 2013 Booking until: Saturday, 1 June 2013
Booking from: Saturday, 1 December 2012 Booking until: Saturday, 2 March 2013
Booking from: Friday, 8 June 2012 Booking until: Sunday, 15 July 2012 Running time: 8 hours
Booking from: Monday, 23 January 2012 Booking until: Saturday, 4 February 2012
Booking from: Friday, 21 January 2011 Booking until: Saturday, 22 January 2011
Booking from: Friday, 20 August 2010 Booking until: Saturday, 15 January 2011
Booking from: Saturday, 16 January 2010 Booking until: Saturday, 14 August 2010
Booking from: Saturday, 4 April 2009 Booking until: Saturday, 9 January 2010