- Aldwych Theatre
name = Aldwych Theatre
caption = Aldwych Theatre in April 2007
city = Westminster,
designation = Grade II
latitude = 51.513306
longitude = -0.117944
owner = James Nederlander
capacity = 1200
West End theatre
opened = 1905
website = www.aldwychtheatre.comThe Aldwych Theatre is a
West End theatre, located on Aldwychin the City of Westminster. The theatre was listed Grade II on July 20, 1971[ [http://www.imagesofengland.org.uk/search/details.aspx?pid=1&id=208539 Aldwych Theatre listing details - English Heritage] accessed 3 Apr 2007] Its seating capacity is 1,200.
The theatre was built as a pair with the Waldorf Theatre (now called the
Novello Theatre), both being designed by W.G.R. Sprague. Funded by Seymour Hicks, in association with the American impressario Charles Frohman, and built by Walter Wallis of Balham. The ornate decorations were in the Georgian style. The theatre was constructed on the newly built Aldwych.
The Aldwych theatre opened on
23 December 1905with a production of "Blue Bell", a new version of Hicks' popular pantomime"Bluebell in Fairyland". In 1906, Hicks' " The Beauty of Bath", followed in 1907 by "The Gay Gordons" played at the theatre. In 1920, Basil Rathboneplayed Major Wharton in "The Unknown". From 1925-1933, it was used for performances of Ben Travers's farces, also known as "The Aldwych Farces". Members of Travers's company included Tom Walls, Yvonne Arnaud, Norma Varden, Ralph Lynn, Mary Brough, Winifred Shotter, and Robertson Hare. In 1933, Richard Tauberpresented and starred in a new version of " Das Dreimäderlhaus" at the Aldwych under the title "Lilac Time". From the mid-1930s until about 1960, the theatre was owned by the Abrahams family. [ [http://www.andreas-praefcke.de/carthalia/uk/uk_london_aldwych.htm Theatre Postcard site] accessed 19 Mar 2007]
Post-war years and Royal Shakespeare Company
Vivien Leigh, who had won an Academy Awardfor the film version, appeared in a 1949 London production of "A Streetcar Named Desire" at the Aldwych, which was directed by her husband, Laurence Olivier. Bonar Colleanoco-starred as Stanley.
15 December 1960, after intense speculation, it was announced that the Royal Shakespeare Companyof Stratford-upon-Avonwas to base its London productions in the Aldwych Theatre for the next three years. In fact they stayed for over 20 years, finally moving to the Barbican Arts Centrein 1982. Among many notable productions were "The Wars of the Roses", "The Greeks", and "Nicholas Nickleby", as well as numerous Shakespeareproductions.
During absences of the RSC, the theatre hosted the annual
World Theatre Seasons, foreign plays in their original productions, invited to London by the theatre impresario Peter Daubeny, annually from 1964 to 1973 and finally in 1975. For his involvement with these Aldwych seasons, run without Arts Council or other official support, Daubeny won the Evening Standard special award in 1972.
Joan Collinsstarred in " Private Lives" at the Aldwych. Other notable recent productions are listed below. The theatre is referred to in Julio Cortázar's short story "Instructions for John Howell" ("Instrucciones para John Howell") in the anthology " All Fires the Fire" (" Todos los fuegos el fuego").
A New Millennium
Since 2000, the theatre has hosted a mixture of plays, comedies and musical productions, but has now become a recognised musical house with the large amount currently taking to the West End. Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical "Whistle Down the Wind" played until 2001, whilst "Fame" enjoyed an extended run through 2006. Since then, the venue has hosted the quick transfer of "Dancing in the Streets" from the
Cambridge Theatrewhich subsequently moved to the Playhouse Theatreto make way for the British premiere of the stage version of " Dirty Dancing" which plays today.
John Whiting"The Devils" (1961)
Harold Pinter"The Collection" (18 June 1962)
* Harold Pinter "
The Homecoming" (3 June 1965)
* Harold Pinter "
Old Times" (1 June 1971)
Tom Stoppard" Travesties" (10 June 1974)
Recent and present productions
An Inspector Calls" (August 25, 1993 - January 21, 1995)
* "Indian Ink" (February 27, 1995 - January 6, 1996) by
* "The Fields of Ambrosia" (January 31, 1996 - Februayry 11, 1996) by Joel Higgins and Martin Silvestri
* "Present Laughter" (February 27, 1996 - April 20, 1996) by
* "Tolstoy" (April 30, 1996 - May 18, 1996) by James Goldman
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (November 6, 1996 - March 22, 1997) by Edward Albee
* "Tom and Clem" (April 14, 1997 - July 26, 1997) by Stephen Churchett
* "Life Support" (August 5, 1997 - October 18, 1997) by Simon Gray
* "The Boys in the Band" (October 29, 1997 - December 20, 1997) by Mark Crowley
Amy's View" (January 14, 1998 - April 18, 1998) by David Hare
*"Whistle Down The Wind" (July 1, 1998 - January 6, 2001) by
Andrew Lloyd Webberand Jim Steinman
* The RSC's "The Secret Garden" (February 27, 2001 - June 2, 2001) by Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon
* "Mahler's Canversion" (October 2, 2001 - November 3, 2001) by Ronald Harwood
* "Thunderbirds FAB" (December 11, 2001 - January 6, 2002) by Andrew Dawson, Gavin Robertson from
* "Top Girls" (January 9, 2002 - February 2, 2002) by Caryl Churchill
* "Mother Clap's Molly House" (February 8, 2002 - March 23, 2002) by Mark Ravenhill and Matthew Scott
* "Bedroom Farce" (April 8, 2002 - June 29, 2002) by Alan Ayckbourn
* "Fame - The Musical" (September 6, 2002 - April 22, 2006) by Jacques Levy and Steve Margoshes
* "Dancing In The Streets" (April 27, 2006 - July 16, 2006)
Dirty Dancing- The Classic Story on Stage" (September 28, 2006 - ) by Eleanor Bergstein
* "Who's Who in the Theatre", edited by John Parker, tenth edition, revised, London, 1947, p.1183.
* "The Oxford Companion to the Theatre" Fourth edition, edited by
Phyllis Hartnoll, Oxford, 1983
* "Guide to British Theatres 1750-1950", John Earl and Michael Sell pp. 97-8 (Theatres Trust, 2000) ISBN 0-7136-5688-3
Nearby tube stations
* [http://www.aldwychtheatre.com/ Official Website]
* [http://www.arthurlloyd.co.uk/AldwychTheatre.htm History of the Aldwych Theatre]
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Aldwych Theatre — a theatre in the West End of London, famous for the Aldwych farces, comedy plays by Ben Travers which were performed there in the 1920s and 1930s. It was the London home of the Royal Shakespeare Company from 1960 to 1982. * * * … Universalium
(the) Aldwych Theatre — the Aldwych Theatre [the Aldwych Theatre] a theatre in the ↑West End of London, famous for the Aldwych farces, comedy plays by Ben Travers which were performed there in the 1920s and 1930s. It was the London home of the ↑Royal Shakespeare Company … Useful english dictionary
Aldwych farces — ➡ Aldwych Theatre * * * … Universalium
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