Comedy Theatre

Comedy Theatre

:"For the theatre in Melbourne, Australia see Comedy Theatre, Melbourne"Infobox Theatre
name = Comedy Theatre

caption = Comedy Theatre, July 2007
address = Panton Street
city = Westminster, London
country =
designation = Grade II listed
latitude = 51.509778
longitude = -0.130722
architect = Thomas Verity
owner = Ambassador Theatre Group
capacity = 796 on 4 levels (1,180 on opening)
type = West End theatre
opened = 15 October 1881
yearsactive =
rebuilt =
closed =
othernames = Royal Comedy Theatre
production = "Fat Pig"
currentuse =
website =
The Comedy Theatre, is a West End Theatre, and opened on Panton Street in the City of Westminster, on October 15, 1881, as the "Royal Comedy Theatre". It was designed by Thomas Verity and built in just six months in painted (stucco) stone and brick [ English Heritage listing details] accessed 28 Apr 2007] . By 1884 it was known as just the "Comedy Theatre". In the mid-1950s the theatre went under major reconstruction and re-opened in December 1955, the auditorium remains essentially that of 1881, with three tiers of horseshoe shaped balconies.


In 1883, the successful operetta "Falka" had its London premiere at the theatre, and in 1885, "Erminie" did the same. The theatre's reputation grew through World War I when C.B. Cochran and André Charlot presented their famous revue shows. Famous actors who appeared here include Henry Daniell who played John Carlton in "Secrets" in September 1929.

The theatre was notable for the role it played in overturning stage censorship by establishing the "New Watergate Club" in 1956, under producer Anthony Field [ [ "Interview with Anthony Field CBE" 14 March, 2007(The Theatre Archive Project, British Library)] accessed 16 Oct 2007] . The outdated Theatres Act 1843 still required scripts to be submitted for approval by the Lord Chamberlain's Office. Formation of the club allowed plays that had been banned due to language or subject matter to be performed under 'club' conditions. Plays produced in this way included the UK premières of Arthur Miller's "A View from the Bridge", Robert Anderson's "Tea and Sympathy" and Tennessee Williams' "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof". The law was not revoked until 1968, but in the late 1950s there was a loosening of conditions in theatre censorship, the club was dissolved and Peter Shaffer's "Five Finger Exercise" premièred to a public audience [ [ Comedy Theatre history] accessed 4 May 2007] .

Recent productions have included "Journey's End", "The Old Masters", "Whose Life is it Anyway?", "The Home Place", "Epitaph for George Dillon", "The Caesar Twins", "Steptoe and Son", "Donkeys' Years", "The Rocky Horror Show".

The current production is Fat Pig. The theatre is a part of the Ambassador Theatre Group.

The theatre was Grade II listed by English Heritage in June 1972.

Recent and present productions

* "Steptoe and Son: Murder in Oil Drum Lane" (22 February 2006 - 15 April 2006) by Roy Galton and John Antrobus
* "Donkeys' Years" (9 May 2006 - 15 December 2006) by Michael Frayn, starring Samantha Bond, David Haig, Mark Addy and James Dreyfus
* "The Rocky Horror Show" (18 December 2006 - 29 January 2007) by Richard O'Brien, starring David Bedella and Suzanne Shaw
* "Boeing-Boeing" (5 February 2007 - 5 January 2008) by Marc Camoletti, starring Roger Allam, Frances de la Tour, Mark Rylance, Daisy Beaumont, Tamzin Outhwaite, Amy Nuttall, Rhea Perlman, Jean Marsh, Jennifer Ellison, Tracey-Ann Oberman and Kevin McNally
* "The Lover"/"The Collection" (12 January 2008 - 3 May 2008) by Harold Pinter, starring Timothy West, Gina McKee, Charlie Cox and Richard Coyle
* "Dickens Unplugged" (23 May 2008 - 29 June 2008) by Adam Long


* "Guide to British Theatres 1750-1950", John Earl and Michael Sell pp. 104-5 (Theatres Trust, 2000) ISBN 0-7136-5688-3
* "Who's Who in the Theatre", edited by John Parker, tenth edition, revised, London, 1947, pps: 477-478.

External links

* [ Buy Tickets for the Comedy Theatre]
* [ Theatre History]

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