History of the Gillian Lynne Theatre
Earlier theatres on this site include the 1851 Middlesex Music Hall which was rebuilt by Frank Matcham in 1911 and afterwards renamed the Winter Garden in 1919. 1960 saw the theatre going dark, following which it was demolished in 1965. The existing theatre was designed with a third of the stalls on a rotation while the walls were designed to be movable therefore giving the New London Theatre an auditorium that was extremely versatile.
The New London Theatre is built upon a site of previous taverns and music hall theatres, where entertainment has been situated since Elizabethan times. Nell Gwynn was connected with a tavern, which became called the Great Mogul by the end of the 17th century, and in an adjacent hall presented entertainment.
In 1919, the theatre was purchased by George Grossmith Jr and Edward Laurillard, the venue was renovated and reopened as the Winter Garden Theatre.
The Vagabond King was produced in 1927, and with Fred and Adele Astaire starred in Funny Face in 1929. In 1930, Sophie Tucker played in the Vivian Ellis musical Follow a Star, and Walk This Way followed in 1923 starring Gracie Fields. 1933 saw the theatre hosting Lewis Casson in George Bernard Shaw’s On the Rocks, with 1935 bringing in Love on the Dole starring Wendy Hiller. Closure of the theatre followed in the late 1930s, before reopening in 1942. The closure occurred once again in 1959 when it was sold by the Rank Organisation to a property developer. It was entirely gutted and stayed empty until 1965 and then supplanted in 1973 by the present-day building.
The New London Theatre was designed by Paul Tvrtkovic and has a capacity on two levels to seat 960. The theatre’s auditorium first opened with a television recording of Marlene Dietrich’s one-woman show on November 23rd-24th, 1972. The theatre officially opened with The Unknown Soldier and His Wife starring Peter Ustinov, on Tuesday 2nd January 1973. It then hosted Grease with Danny played by Richard Gere. The theatre was then utilised as a television studio for several years and subsequently returned to be used as a theatre. The greatest hit up to that time was Cats the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Trevor Nunn musical, premiering at the theatre on Monday 11th May 1981 and run until finally closing in 2002.
Between 2003 and 2005 Bill Kenwright’s revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat played, closing after two and a half years on 3rd September 2005. Following this was the transfer of the off-Broadway production, Blue Man Group, which closed on 24th June 2007. The followed The Royal Shakespeare Company’s repertory productions of The Seagull and King Lear, starring Ian McKellen. Gone With The Wind played for a fairly short run in the spring of 2008, closing on Saturday 14th June 2008 after only 79 performances.
The theatre has been owned by Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Theatre Company since 1991. War Horse opened on 28th March 2009 and is the current, and popular production.
Gillian Lynne was a renowned choreographer and director in the world of theatre and dance. Born in 1926, she began her career as a dancer before transitioning to choreography and directing. She worked on many successful productions, including the original West End and Broadway productions of “Cats,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” and “Aspects of Love.” She also directed several productions, including the London premiere of “The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd” and the revival of “My Fair Lady” in 2001. In addition to her contributions to theatre, Lynne was also a passionate advocate for dance education, establishing the Lynne School of Dance in 1970. She passed away in 2018 at the age of 92, leaving behind a legacy of iconic choreography and dedicated mentorship.
Transport to The Gillian Lynne Theatre
The Gillian Lynne Theatre is located in the heart of the West End and is a popular destination for theatre-goers. If you’re planning to visit the theatre and are wondering about the best way to get there, here are some of the public transport options available:
- Tube: The nearest tube station to the Gillian Lynne Theatre is Covent Garden, which is on the Piccadilly line. Alternatively, you can take the Central and Northern lines to Tottenham Court Road station, which is also within walking distance of the theatre.
- Bus: There are several bus routes that stop near the venue, including the 14, 19, 38, and 176. These buses run through various parts of the city, so you can easily find a route that works for you.
- Train: The nearest train station to the theatre is Charing Cross, which is about a 10-15 minute walk away. You can take a train to Charing Cross from various parts of the city and beyond.
- Bicycle: If you enjoy cycling, you can use the city’s cycle hire scheme, Santander Cycles, to get to the theatre. There are several docking stations located near the theatre.
- Taxi or Uber: If you prefer, you can take a taxi or an Uber to the venue. There are several taxi ranks located near the theatre, or you can book an Uber using the app.
When planning your journey to the Gillian Lynne Theatre, it’s a good idea to check the transport timetables in advance, especially if you’re travelling during rush hour. This will help you to avoid any delays or disruptions that could affect your journey.
Gillian Lynne Theatre
166 Drury Ln, London WC2B 5PW