31 Shaftesbury Avenue
London W1D 7EZ
Box Office Hours: Monday - Saturday: 10:00 - 20:00
Tube: Piccadilly Circus
The Apollo, Shaftesbury Avenue was the first theatre to be built in Edwardian London, and it opened in February 1901. It seats 796, is a Grade II listed building and has one of the steepest balconies in London.
When the Apollo opened it concentrated on musical comedies. Today it bucks the trend visible in much of the West End in that it is one of the few theatres not concentrating on offering musical comedies. This programming which dares to defy short-term trends has led to some great successes in recent years, specifically Jez Butterworths Jerusalem, which transferred triumphantly to Broadway before returning to The Apollo.
The theatre was a home for original works for much of its early life, until George Grossmith Jr and Edward Laurillard took over its management in 1920. They concentrated on producing adaptations and revivals. In 1928, Laurence Olivier starred there in Journeys End. After the war, the theatre was home to a number of notable comedies, including Noel Cowards Private Lives, The Happiest days Of Your Life, starring Margaret Rutherford, and Treasure Hunt, directed by John Geilgud.
It was a home to many hit comedies during the 1970s and 80s whilst maintaining a reputation for originating new work, and quality revivals. Peter OToole starred in Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell about the famous Soho dipsomaniac and writer in 1989. To the current day, the theatre remains an important home for new work in a West End that is becoming increasingly obsessed with the more marketable musicals.
The nearest tube is Piccadilly Circus, but the theatre is also easily walkable from Leicester Square, Covent Garden, or Tottenham Court Road. The nearest mainline train station is Charing Cross, and it is a slightly longer walk from there, but should take no longer than about fifteen minutes. There are many buses that run along Shaftesbury Avenue, but if you are intending to drive to the theatre you should be aware that you will incur the congestion charge for driving into the West End.
Although many West End Theatres have steep, vertiginous balconies, the Apollos third balcony is reputed to be the steepest in London, and it is worth being aware of if you have a problem with heights or balance. If you have a disability it would be well worth contacting the theatre directly when booking your seats, to get their help as to which seats would be most suitable.
The theatre may not be the most easily accessible, but it is one of the most attractive theatres in the West End. It was renovated in 1932, and the three-galleried auditorium has elaborate plasterwork throughout, and a sculpted stone fascia on its outside. It has one of the most stunning interiors of any theatre in London, well worth seeing for the architecture, not solely for the shows that might be on within.
If you are looking for a new play, or a quality revival of an old one within a beautiful listed theatre from the West Ends golden period, you could do much worse that investigating what is on at The Apollo, Shaftesbury Avenue.
|HOTEL / APARTMENT||POSTCODE||MILES||STAR||23 Jul||24 Jul||25 Jul||26 Jul||27 Jul||28 Jul||29 Jul||30 Jul|
|Piccadilly Circus Station||1||Bakerloo - Piccadilly||0.16 miles|
|Leicester Square Station||1||Piccadilly - Northern||0.32 miles|
|Tottenham Court Road Station||1||Central - Northern||0.56 miles|
|Covent Garden Station||1||Piccadilly||0.65 miles|
|Charing Cross Station||1||Bakerloo - Northern||0.67 miles|
|Charing Cross London Station||0.71 miles|
|London Waterloo International Station||1.58 miles|
|London Waterloo Station||1.70 miles|
|London Waterloo East Station||1.80 miles|
|London Euston Station||1.91 miles|