Venue InformationApollo Theatre
Address: Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 7ES
Nearest Tube or Train: Piccadilly Circus (Bakerloo line, Piccadilly line)
Nearest Buses: 1, 14, 19, 22, 24, 29, 38, 55, 176
Theatre Quick FactsDate opened: 21 February 1901
Designer: Lewin Sharp
First production: George Lederer's production of The Belle of Bohemia (from a book by Harry B. Smith, music by Ludwig Englander)
Number of seats: 756
Theatre owner: Nimax Theatres
Originally to have been called the Mascot Theatre it is the only complete theatre design of architect Lewin Sharp. The Apollo Theatre was specifically designed for musical theatre and named after the Greek god of the arts and leader of the muses.
Designed by architect Lewin Sharp, the Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue was specifically designed for musical theatre.
It was built by Walter Wallis, with its Renaissance style frontage featuring a sculpted stone fascia by T. Simpson.
The theatre opened on 21 February 1901 – and because Queen Victoria died the previous month – it was the first ever London theatre to be completed during the Edwardian period. The theatre had a major renovation by Ernest Schaufelberg in 1932.
Theatre impresario Tom B. Davis took over the theatre from 1902, and Prince Littler managed the Apollo from 1944. Stoll Moss Group bought the theatre in 1975, and sold to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group and Bridgepoint Capital in 2000. Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer then purchased the theatre in 2005, joining their Nimax Theatres portfolio of venues.
Some famous performances and productions include American musical comedy The Belle of Bohemia, which opened the theatre and ran for 72 performances. At the start of the Twentieth Century, George Edwardes produced a series of Edwardian musical comedies, including Kitty Grey, Three Little Maids and The Girl from Kays. Edward German’s Tom Jones in 1907 saw famous actress Cicely Courtneidge make her London debut.
From 1908 to 1912 the Apollo hosted H. G. Pelissier’s The Follies, and then a number of seasons of plays by Charles Hawtrey in 1913, 1914 and 1924, and Harold Brighouse’s Hobson’s Choice in 1916; and from 1920 to 1923 George Grossmith, Jr. and Edward Laurillard managed the theatre, staging a series of revivals and new plays including Trilby in 1922, based on George du Maurier’s famous novel.
Laurence Olivier starred in R. C. Sherriff’s Journey’s End in 1928, and from 1936 Ian Hay’s Housemaster had a long run, managing 662 performances.
Notable pre and wartime hits at the Apollo included Raymond Massey in Robert Sherwood’s Idiot’s Delight in 1938, Patrick Hamilton’s play Gaslight in 1939, Terence Rattigan’s Flare Path in 1942, and John Clements and Kay Hammond in a revival of Noël Coward’s Private Lives in 1944.
In 1949 Sybil Thorndike and Lewis Casson starred in Treasure Hunt, directed by John Gielgud, followed by a three year run for Seagulls Over Sorrento in 1950.
The theatre’s longest ever run was the smash-hit comedy Boeing-Boeing from 1962 to 1965, starring Patrick Cargill and David Tomlinson, which then transferred to the Duchess Theatre.
In 1968 Sir John Gielgud starred in Alan Bennett’s Forty Years On, returning the next year to perform in David Storey’s Home with Ralph Richardson, and again in 1988 for Hugh Whitemore’s The Best of Friends.
Notable shows in the 70s, 80s and 90s included John Mills starring in Terence Rattigan’s Separate Tables in 1986; Tom Conti and Pauline Collins in Romantic Comedy in 1983; Albert Finney in Lyle Kessler’s Orphans and I’m Not Rappaport in 1986; Paul Scofield, and Dorothy Tutin, Eileen Atkins and Siân Phillips in Thursday’s Ladies in 1987; Wendy Hiller in Driving Miss Daisy in 1988; and a bumper 1989, with Zoë Wanamaker in Mrs Klein, Vanessa Redgrave in A Madhouse in Goa, and Peter O’Toole in Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell.
Penelope Wilton starred in a memorable production of Terence Rattigan’s The Deep Blue Sea in 1993.
Theatre Previous Shows
Past shows playing at the Apollo Theatre:Monday Night at the Apollo
Horrible Histories - Barmy Britain Part 5
Horrible Histories - Barmy Britain - Part 4
Love in Idleness
Cat on A Hot Tin Roof
Peter Pan Goes Wrong
My Night with Reg
Horrible Histories Barmy Britain Part 4
Let The Right One In
The Madness Of George III
Long Day's Journey Into Night
Yes, Prime Minister
Leslie Jordan: My Trip Down The Pink Carpet
The Country Girl
All My Sons