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The Dominion Theatre, Tottenham Court Road, London

Earlier - Meux's Horse Shoe Brewery / O'Brien's West End Amusement Park / Luna Park / The Court Cinema

The Dominion Theatre during the run of Jim Steinman's Meat Loaf Musical 'Bat Out Of Hell' in May 2018 - Photo M.L.

Above - The Dominion Theatre during the run of Jim Steinman's Meat Loaf Musical 'Bat Out Of Hell' in May 2018 - Photo M.L. The show was first staged at the Manchester Opera House in February 2017 before its West End opening at the London Coliseum in the summer of 2017.

See London's West End TheatresSee Theatreland MapsSee this Theatre on Google StreetviewThe Giant Portland Stone frontage which forms the main entrance to the Dominion Theatre, and is situated on London's Tottenham Court Road, stands on the site of a former Cinema called the 'Court Cinema' which opened in 1911 and closed in 1928 (shown below).

Quick Facts
Quick Facts

However, the main body of the Dominion Theatre stands on the site of a former brewery, the huge 'Meux's Horse Shoe Brewery' which began trading in 1809 and eventually covered some two to three acres of land, before being demolished in 1922, more on this below.

A Map showing the site of 'Meux's Horse Shoe Brewery' - From the Daily Telegraph of November 28th, 1905. The site was later used for the building of the Dominion Theatre in 1928.For a short period the site then became home to 'O'Brien's West End Amusement Park' which was reported in the press as being 'A winter fair at its best'.

Right - A Map showing the site of 'Meux's Horse Shoe Brewery' - From the Daily Telegraph of November 28th, 1905. The site was later used for the building of the Dominion Theatre in 1928.

An Advertisement for the last 3 days of 'Dangers of Ignorance' at the Court Cinema before it was demolished for the building of the Entrance to the Dominion Theatre - From Day's Daily Herald, March 2nd 1928.Then on the 14th of July 1925 the site became home to 'Luna Park' which consisted of a 1,000 seat temporary Theatre, with a 'properly equipped stage, tasteful decorations, an efficient lighting system, and a small orchestra'. The Theatre was used for the showing of variety performances, and the rest of the park consisted of a 'Continental Cafe' and various side shows.

Left - An Advertisement for the last 3 days of 'Dangers of Ignorance' at the Court Cinema before it was demolished for the building of the Entrance to the Dominion Theatre - From Day's Daily Herald, March 2nd 1928.

Eventually the Court Cinema and the Luna Park behind it would all be removed for the building of the giant new Dominion Theatre which began construction in 1928, complete with its own Subway to Tottenham Court Road Underground Station, since blocked off. The Theatre was opened in October 1929, details below.

The Court Cinema and Horse Shoe Hotel, Tottenham Court Road, in 1927 - With kind permission Shamus Dark. The Court Cinema stood on the site of the Present Day Entrance to the Dominion Theatre and the photograph is from the Stockholm Transport Museum archive and forms part of a wonderful set of photos on Flickr entitled 'Charing Cross Road before Centre Point'.

Above - The Court Cinema and Horse Shoe Hotel, Tottenham Court Road, in 1927 - With kind permission Shamus Dark. The Court Cinema stood on the site of the Present Day Entrance to the Dominion Theatre and the photograph is from the Stockholm Transport Museum archive and forms part of a wonderful set of photos on Flickr entitled 'Charing Cross Road before Centre Point'.

A programme for 'Follow Through', the Opening production at the Dominion Theatre on the 3rd of October 1929 - Click for a  Review and to see the whole programme.The steel framed Dominion Theatre was built for Moss Empires and constructed by Bovis Ltd to the designs of William and T. R Millburn, and opened on Thursday the 3rd of October 1929 with a musical comedy about golf, in two acts, called 'Follow Through', a programme cover for which is shown right, and a review of the production, along with contemporary newspaper pages, and the whole programme can be seen here.

Right - A programme for 'Follow Through', the Opening production at the Dominion Theatre on the 3rd of October 1929. Click for a review of the production and to see the whole programme, and various news reports.

The Directors of the Dominion Theatre for its construction and opening were amongst others Sir Alfred Butt M.P., Chairman and Managing Director of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane; and R. H. Gillespie, Managing Director of Moss Empires.

A Page from the Tatler on 'Follow Through' at the newly opened Dominion Theatre in October 1929 - Click to enlarge and for more information and images on 'Follow Through'.The Stage Newspaper reported on the new Dominion Theatre on the day it opened, on the 3rd of October, 1929, saying:- 'Spacious new Theatre - When the curtain rises to-night (Thursday) on the new musical play "Follow Through," the Dominion in Tottenham Court Road will have been the first of the new West End houses to open its doors.

Left - A Page from the Tatler on 'Follow Through' at the newly opened Dominion Theatre in October 1929 - Click to enlarge and for more information and images on 'Follow Through'.

From the street the house has rather the effect of being unfinished. This is caused by the apex of the frontage, which has three large window-like openings leading on to a sunk roof. In the background towering over the frontage and roof rises the superstructure of the stage, a labyrinth-like mass of balconies and iron ladders by no means unlike a pile of modern artisans' dwellings. This unfinished effect is doubtless also contributed to by the girders and flooring of a partly built store, which is directly on the corner. On the other side the Dominion joins the Horseshoe Hotel (Shown Below)...

The Dominion Theatre under construction and shortly before it's opening in 1929 - From The Sphere, August 31st 1929.

Above - The Dominion Theatre under construction and shortly before it's opening in 1929 - From The Sphere, August 31st 1929.

An early postcard showing Tottenham Court Road and the Court Cinema, formerly on the site of the entrance to the Dominion Theatre....The site itself has its niche it the history of London. We can only remember it as Meux's Brewery, a landmark that stood for more than 100 years. This was followed a year or two ago for a little while by a fairground.

Right - An early postcard showing Tottenham Court Road and the Court Cinema, formerly on the site of the entrance to the Dominion Theatre.

A brewery occupied the ground as far back as 1764, and in those days the district was open country. During the first years of the Meux regime disaster overtook the enterprise, for a gigantic receptacle for storing liquor burst, freeing 3,555 barrels of the best London porter, with the result that eight people lost their lives in the flood. Long before, the ground had been occupied by a leper hospital, founded by Matilda, consort of Henry I. The open space where five roads now meet was a favourite place in the "good old days" for the dispatch of criminals and martyrs. Sir John Oldcastle, popularly supposed to be the original of Shakespeare's Falstaff, was roasted to death just about where the constable on point duty now stands. He had had a difference of opinion on religion with his Sovereign...

The Foyer of the Dominion Theatre during the run of 'Bat out of Hell' in September 2018.

The Foyer of the Dominion Theatre during the run of 'Bat out of Hell' in September 2018.

The Foyer of the Dominion Theatre during the run of 'Bat out of Hell' in September 2018.

The Foyer of the Dominion Theatre during the run of 'Bat out of Hell' in September 2018.

Above - The Foyer of the Dominion Theatre during the run of 'Bat out of Hell' in September 2018.

The Auditorium of the Dominion Theatre in August 2017 - Courtesy Christian Clark....The new theatre, which now graces the scene of medieval cruelty and the old-fashioned but honest brewing industry, is an imposing building, with a frontage of unusual design, although the architects have not quite got away from the prevailing fondness for Doric pillars. Imposing columns frame handsomely glazed and ornamented windows, and at the same time support a half dome, on which the name of the house stands out boldly in gilt letters. The main entrance leads to a spacious and luxuriously carpeted foyer, from which a marble staircase ascends to the circle landing. Here we first meet with the general colour scheme of the house - soft blues, greys, and silver, with biscuit-like upholstery.

Right - The Auditorium of the Dominion Theatre in August 2017 - Courtesy Christian Clark.

The seating accommodation is glorious. It stretches away in a fine rake, which allows an uninterrupted view of the stage from any seat. There are no interior pillars nor awkward angles. The 2,841 seats are made up of 1,340 stalls, 818 dress-circle seats, and 683 balcony. The comfort of patrons has not been sacrificed to the desire to squeeze in a few extra rows, with the result there is ample leg room, as well as sufficient space to pass backward and forward without annoying and having to be continually apologising to neighbours.

The Stage Right Auditorium Box at the Dominion Theatre in August 2017 - Courtesy Christian Clark. The Royal box has its private entrance in Bainbridge Street. The frontage on Tottenham Court Road is 44 ft. and there are exits in Great Russell Street, and others lending into New Oxford Street.

A retiring room at the back of the dress circle, fitted with soda-water fountains, is 56 ft. long and 40 ft. wide. Another handsome lounge will accommodate stall patrons and those in the front rows of the circle. This is 100 ft. in length, 20 ft. wide, and has a handsome domed roof. All parts of the house are supplied with spacious bars, retiring rooms, cloak rooms, in fact everything that forethought and money can provide for comfort.

Left - The Stage Right Auditorium Box at the Dominion Theatre in August 2017 - Courtesy Christian Clark.

At first sight the interior of the house gives one the impression that it was really meant for a super kinema. It is undoubtedly on the lines popularised by the modern picture palace, and the ornate blue and silver uniforms of both male and female attendants emphasise this impression. The house has a fully equipped projection room at the back of the balcony. It will be remembered that the last two West End houses, the Carlton and the Piccadilly, both opened with musical comedy, but are now playing pictures...

  • The Dominion Theatre Stalls Entrance.
  • The Dominion Theatre Stalls Staircase.
  • The Dominion Theatre Stalls Corridor showing an original marble balustrade.
  • The Dominion Theatre's Entrance to the Stalls on Stage Left.
  • The Dominion Theatre's Circle Bar.
  • The Dominion Theatre's Circle Bar.
  • The Dominion Theatre's Circle Bar.
  • The entrance corridor to the Dominion Theatre's Premier Bar for Stalls Patrons.
  • The Entrance to the Dominion Theatre's Premier Bar for Stalls Patrons.
  • The Dominion Theatre's Premier Bar for Stalls Patrons.
  • The Dominion Theatre's Premier Bar for Stalls Patrons.
  • Signage for the Dominion Theatre's Royal Variety Bar, today the Brian May Room.
  • The Brian May Room at the Dominion Theatre, formerly the Royal Variety Bar.
  • The Brian May Room at the Dominion Theatre, formerly the Royal Variety Bar.
  • The Chaplin Room at the Dominion Theatre, renamed the Jim Steinman room in 2018. Chaplin's 'City Lights' was premiered at the Dominion in 1931.
  • The Chaplin Room at the Dominion Theatre, renamed the Jim Steinman room in 2018. Chaplin's 'City Lights' was premiered at the Dominion in 1931.
  • The Dominion Theatre Royal Room, behind the Royal Box.
  • The Dominion Theatre Royal Room, behind the Royal Box.
  • The Gallery, an events space which is today situated inside the Dominion Theatre's original Balcony, which was closed off in 1958.
  • The Gallery, an events space which is today situated inside the Dominion Theatre's original Balcony, which was closed off in 1958.
  • A photograph of a photograph showing Charlie Chaplin's own Private Cinema at the Dominion Theatre, today used as a workshop. Chaplin's 'City Lights' was premiered at the Dominion in 1931.
  • A photograph of a photograph showing Charlie Chaplin's own Private Cinema at the Dominion Theatre, today used as a workshop. Chaplin's 'City Lights' was premiered at the Dominion in 1931.
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Above - A Slideshow of Photographs of some of the FOH Bars and Function Rooms at the Dominion Theatre during the run of 'Bat out of Hell' in September 2018. These photographs are shown here with the kind permission of Nederlander Dominion Limited and are © Copyright Matthew Lloyd 2018. Swipe left or right, or Click the Arrows or Thumbnails to Navigate.


The Auditorium and Stage of the Dominion Theatre in August 2017 - Courtesy Christian Clark. ...The stage is large and fitted with everything needed for the presentation of first-class spectacular productions. It is 100 ft. by 40 ft. with an exceptionally high grid and an elaborate switchboard. Moreover, the electricians claim the most extensive wiring in London.

The comfort of the artists has not been neglected, for the commodious dressing-rooms are one and all equipped with hot and cold water, heating radiators, and wardrobes. Bathrooms have also been installed. Artists are carried from the stage floor by lifts. The management claims that the theatre is absolutely nonflammable.

Right - The Auditorium and Stage of the Dominion Theatre in August 2017 - Courtesy Christian Clark.

At the private view of the theatre last Friday one of the big sets from "Show Boat" was utilised as a stage setting, and also as an elaborate buffet.

The orchestra from Drury Lane, under the direction of Mr. Herman Finck, provided a capital musical programme, the chief item of which was a pot-pourri specially arranged for the occasion by Mr. Finck. It introduced popular numbers from the musical plays and other productions of Sir Alfred Butt since 1904.'

The above text in quotes was first published in the Stage, 3rd of October, 1929.

A 1931 Postcard of Tottenham Court Road showing the Dominion Theatre near right. The Film showing at the Dominion at the time was 'Cimarron' starring Richard Dix.

Above - A 1931 Postcard of Tottenham Court Road showing the Dominion Theatre near right. The Film showing at the Dominion at the time was 'Cimarron' starring Richard Dix.

A programme for 'Follow Through', the Opening production at the Dominion Theatre on the 3rd of October 1929. Click for a review of the production and to see the whole programme.The first production at the Dominion Theatre, 'Follow Through', a musical comedy about golf, was written by Laurence Schwab and starred Ada May, Leslie Henson, Elsie Randolph, Viola Compton, and Ivy Tresman, Henson also co-staged and produced the piece with Firth Shephard, but despite the wonderful new Theatre it was playing in it only ran for a disappointing 148 performances. A review of the production and the whole programme can be seen here.

Right - A programme for 'Follow Through', the Opening production at the Dominion Theatre on the 3rd of October 1929. Click for a review of the production and to see the whole programme.

Programme for 'Silver Wings' with Lupino Lane, the second production at the newly opened Dominion Theatre in 1930The second production at the newly opened Dominion Theatre in 1929, was the musical 'Silver Wings' (programme shown Left), which was put on after the demise of 'Follow Through' only a few months after the Theatre had opened.

Left - A programme for 'Silver Wings', the second production at the Dominion Theatre, in 1929.

Silver Wings starred Lupino Lane, Emma Haig, Ross Fairfax, and Arthur Finn but faired little better than the first production at the Theatre and was quickly followed by two weeks of Variety staring Maurice Chevalier.

Programme for 'The Maurice Chevalier Season' at the Dominion Theatre Monday December the 1st 1930.A rather scathing review of the Maurice Chevalier production was published in 'The Bioscope' on the 3rd of December 1930 saying:- 'Maurice has arrived! And his whirlwind season at the Dominion Theatre will add not only £8,000 to his earnings, but considerably also to his learning. He will learn what he owes to the screen.

Right - A Programme for 'The Maurice Chevalier Season' at the Dominion Theatre which began on Monday December the 1st 1930.

As I sat at the back of the stalls on Monday's opening performance, I found myself watching, over a sea of heads, this real Chevalier singing the songs I had heard from the screen. But to me he was much less real than he had been on the screen; a mere mirionette figure in the place of the great sunny-faced comedian who has made himself my screen favourite. Whether at the end of his short London season the film will be owing anything to the stage is by no means certain.

Programme Detail for 'The Maurice Chevalier Season' at the Dominion Theatre Monday December the 1st 1930.I admit quite frankly that his personal appearance has been arranged on a scale which reflects still more credit on the highly efficient publicity organisation maintained by Paramount. All the ladies will love to meet the Maurice of their dreams.

Left - A photograph from a programme for the Maurice Chevalier Season at the Dominion Theatre which began on Monday December the 1st 1930.

I can only hope that they will come away feeling that flesh and blood has rewarded them. Apart from a few stories which he was able to put over the footlights, but which would certainly have been excised from any film by the censor, I got considerably less kick out of seeing him on the boards than I did out of his most recent screen performance in the "Big Pond." Which goes to prove that the vaunted intimacy of the stage theatre becomes a myth in these days of supers, while the "close-up" of the screen annihilates completely the increasing acreage of auditorium.' - The Bioscope, December 3rd, 1930.

The Auditorium of the Dominion Theatre in August 2017 - Courtesy Christian Clark. The front of the blocked off Balcony, now used as a Follow Spot Gallery, can be seen above the first circle.

Above - The Auditorium of the Dominion Theatre in August 2017 - Courtesy Christian Clark. The front of the blocked off Balcony, now used as a Follow Spot Gallery, can be seen above the first circle.

The auditorium of the Dominion Theatre was constructed on three levels, Stalls, Dress Circle, and Balcony, with a huge capacity of some 2,835 seats. However, the Balcony is no longer used today and is boarded off so that the current capacity is a more reserved 2,069 (see the 1930 and 1970's seating plans further down on this page) but this is not small by any means, indeed the vast Theatre Royal, Drury Lane only holds a couple of hundred more people.

In the photographs shown above and below the front of the now blocked off Balcony can be seen above the first circle. The front of the disused balcony is today used as a Lighting and Follow Spot gallery. Inside the former Balcony today is a modern room which has been constructed across the middle section, which is used as an events space called the Gallery, this can be seen in the FOH Slideshow photographs above.

The auditorium of the Dominion Theatre in August 2018. The front of the blocked off Balcony, now used as a Follow Spot Gallery, can be seen above the first circle - Photo M.L.

Above - The auditorium of the Dominion Theatre in August 2018. The front of the blocked off Balcony, now used as a Follow Spot Gallery, can be seen above the first circle - Photo M.L.

The original spot box / projection room of the Dominion Theatre still exists but is obviously unusable today. And although in a poor state, having been unused for 60 years, the old Balcony and its staircases and Bar are still accessible, a recent look inside proved that some plasterwork is still visible and a row of seats still survives at the very back of the very steeply raked space. The slideshow below shows many photographs of the Theatre's now unused original Balcony and Follow Spot box taken by myself whilst working at the Theatre in August 2018.

  • One of the Disused Balcony Staircases at the Dominion Theatre in August 2018.
  • One of the Disused Balcony Staircases at the Dominion Theatre in August 2018.
  • One of the Disused Balcony Staircases at the Dominion Theatre in August 2018.
  • One of the Disused Balcony Staircases at the Dominion Theatre in August 2018.
  • One of the Disused Balcony Staircases at the Dominion Theatre in August 2018.
  • The Disused Balcony Lounge and Bar at the Dominion Theatre in August 2018.
  • The Disused Centre Balcony Entrance at the Dominion Theatre in August 2018.
  • The Front of the Disused Balcony at the Dominion Theatre in March 2018. Above it can be seen the exterior of the events space called the Gallery which has been constructed inside the old Balcony space.
  • The Front of the Disused Balcony at the Dominion Theatre in March 2018. Above it can be seen the exterior of the events space called the Gallery which has been constructed inside the old Balcony space.
  • Inside the old Balcony of the Dominion Theatre, closed off in 1958. The exterior of the events space called the Gallery which was constructed inside the old Balcony can also be seen in this photo.
  • Inside the old Balcony of the Dominion Theatre, closed off in 1958. The exterior of the events space called the Gallery which was constructed inside the old Balcony can also be seen in this photo.
  • Inside the old Balcony of the Dominion Theatre, closed off in 1958.
  • Inside the old Balcony of the Dominion Theatre, closed off in 1958. The back row of seats still survives.
  • An original light fitting inside the now disused balcony of the Dominion Theatre.
  • Some surviving plasterwork in the now disused balcony of the Dominion Theatre.
  • Inside the old Balcony of the Dominion Theatre, closed off in 1958. The back row of seats still survives. This photo also shows the Theatre's original Spot Box / Projection Room Windows.
  • Surviving plasterwork inside the now disused balcony at the Dominion Theatre.
  • Surviving plasterwork and light fittings inside the now disused balcony at the Dominion Theatre.
  • Surviving plasterwork inside the now disused balcony at the Dominion Theatre.
  • Surviving plasterwork inside the now disused balcony at the Dominion Theatre.
  • The original Spot Box / Projection Room windows inside the now disused Balcony of the Dominion Theatre.
  • The original Spot Box / Projection Room windows inside the now disused Balcony of the Dominion Theatre.
  • Inside the old Balcony of the Dominion Theatre, closed off in 1958. The back row of seats still survives.
  • Inside the old Balcony of the Dominion Theatre, closed off in 1958. The back row of seats still survives.
  • Inside the old Balcony of the Dominion Theatre, closed off in 1958. The back row of seats still survives.
  • The exterior of the now unused original Spot Box / Projection Room at the Dominion Theatre in August 2018.
  • The exterior of the now unused original Spot Box / Projection Room at the Dominion Theatre in August 2018.
  • Inside the now unused original Spot Box / Projection Room at the Dominion Theatre in August 2018.
  • Inside the now unused original Spot Box / Projection Room at the Dominion Theatre in August 2018.
  • Ancient Electrical equipment inside the now unused original Spot Box / Projection Room at the Dominion Theatre in August 2018.
  • The original Tabs and Screen Controls inside the now unused original Spot Box / Projection Room at the Dominion Theatre in August 2018.
  • A fire shutter over one of the windows in the now unused original Spot Box / Projection Room at the Dominion Theatre in August 2018.
  • An ancient internal telephone and a fire shutter over one of the windows in the now unused original Spot Box / Projection Room at the Dominion Theatre in August 2018.
  • A Frank Burkitt Vulcan Fire Shutter sign inside the now unused original Spot Box / Projection Room at the Dominion Theatre in August 2018.
  • Outside the now unused original Spot Box / Projection Room at the Dominion Theatre in August 2018, looking over the back of the Theatre's Facade to Tottenham Court Road.
  • Looking up at the now unused original Spot Box / Projection Room at the Dominion Theatre in August 2018.
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Above - A Slideshow of photographs taken in August 2018 which show the Dominion Theatre's original Balcony, Staircases, and Follow Spot Box / Projection Room, which were all taken out of commission when the Balcony was closed off in 1958 but still survive to this day. These photographs are shown here with the kind permission of Nederlander Dominion Limited and are © Copyright Matthew Lloyd 2018. Swipe left or right, or Click the Arrows or Thumbnails to Navigate.

The Theatre's Balcony, which could originally seat 677 people, was blocked off in 1958 when the Dominion was reopened as a so called 'Roadshow Cinema', showing the record breaking run of the film 'South Pacific' which ran at the Theatre for 4 years and 22 weeks. Given the will however, and considerable expenditure, the original Balcony of the Dominion Theatre could still be restored and reinstated, which would make this the Theatre with the largest seating capacity in London's West End.

The Auditorium and Stage of the Dominion Theatre in December 2016 - Courtesy Christian Clark

Above - The Auditorium and Stage of the Dominion Theatre in December 2016 - Courtesy Christian Clark.

A Seating Plan for the Dominion Theatre - From 'Who's Who in the Theatre' published in 1930 - Courtesy Martin Clark. Click to see more Seating Plans from this publication.

Above - A Seating Plan for the Dominion Theatre - From 'Who's Who in the Theatre' published in 1930 - Courtesy Martin Clark. Click to see more Seating Plans from this publication. Note - The Balcony, which could originally seat 677 people, was blocked off when the Dominion was reopened as a so called 'Roadshow' Cinema in 1958, see 1970 plan below.

A Seating Plan for the Dominion Theatre from the 1970s

Above - A Seating Plan for the Dominion Theatre from the 1970s. Note - The Balcony, which could originally seat 677 people and is not seen in this plan, was blocked off when the Dominion was reopened as a so called 'Roadshow' Cinema in 1958, see 1930 plan above.

Programme Detail for 'The Maurice Chevalier Season' at the Dominion Theatre Monday December the 1st 1930.Although the Dominion wasn't designed primarily as a Cinema, its early failure as a live Theatre meant that in 1930, just a year after opening, the Theatre went over to full time Cinema use, starting with the UK premier of the 1925 film 'The Phantom of the Opera' starring Lon Chaney on the 21st of July 1930. H. G. Wells was in attendance at this performance.

Right - A page from a Programme for 'The Maurice Chevalier Season' at the Dominion Theatre on Monday December the 1st 1930. See the cover for this programme further up on this page.

ABC took over the Theatre in October 1930 for a short time but at Christmas the Theatre was back in live theatre use again for the staging of the Pantomime 'Aladdin' which ran until February 1931. After this the Theatre was leased to United Artists who showed the premier of Charlie Chaplin's 'City Lights' with Chaplin in attendance and also speaking to the audience from the stage before the film. Chaplin also had his own Private Cinema in the Theatre, today used as a workshop, which can be seen in the FOH Slideshow above.

Nederlander House, situated on Great Russell Street, in August 2018. This part of the Dominion Theatre is today used as offices for Nederlander Dominion Limited, and also has exits from the Theatre's various levels.A season of 'Non Stop Cine-Variety' was tried at the Dominion in 1932. A short article about this appeared in The Bioscope of April the 13th 1932 saying:- 'An original policy in the presentation of cine-variety is being tried out at the Dominion, Tottenham Court Road, W.C., by Moss Empires. Instead of staging a few individual variety acts in the stereotyped manner, they have for the first time, so far as the cinema is concerned, definitely linked up the programme into what is really a revuette in miniature by the introduction of "compere" and "commere..."

Left - Nederlander House, situated on Great Russell Street, in August 2018. This part of the Dominion Theatre is today used as offices for Nederlander Dominion Limited, and also has exits from the Theatre's various levels.

Advertisment for the forthcoming 'Aladdin' at the Dominion Theatre in 1930....Dora Maughan, the "bad, bad woman," and Stanelli, the Dominion's musical director, are the links, and their individual and collective efforts prove this idea of quickfire continuous presentation to have much to commend it, particularly as it entirely eliminates stage waits and curtains. Moreover, this linking- up by personal appearance gets right over and materially assists in the creation of a friendly atmosphere between artists and audience.' - The Bioscope, April 13th 1932.

Right - An advertisement for the then forthcoming production of 'Aladdin' at the Dominion Theatre in 1930.

The Rear Extension to the Dominion Theatre which was originally constructed for the production of 'Beauty and the Beast' in 1997.In 1933 the Dominion was sold to Gaumont British who ran the Theatre exclusively as a Cinema again. They installed a Compton 3 Manual 12 Rank Theatre Organ to accompany the pictures. Live performances returned for a while in 1957 with Sophie Tucker, Tommy Steele, and Judy Garland all appearing on the Dominion stage in concert, and there was a month long run of 'The Broken Date' by Le Ballet-Theatre, Paris in February 1958.

Left - The Rear Extension to the Dominion Theatre which was originally constructed for the production of 'Beauty and the Beast' in 1997 to house the production's Wardrobe and Actor's Green Room. Today it is used as a scene dock and crew room. The extension hides the Theatre's original dock doors.

After this a Todd-AO system was installed for the projection of films on a giant 46 foot wide screen with a 5 foot curvature, along with a new projection box at the rear of the Stalls to service it, at the same time the Theatre's Balcony was closed and boarded off, never to reopen again, so far anyway (see the two different seating plans from 1930 and the 1970's above).

A Programme for Dave Clark's 'Time' Musical at the Dominion Theatre in 1986.The Theatre reopened on the 21st of April 1958 with the film 'South Pacific' which gained a record breaking run at the Theatre, 4 years and 22 weeks in all, before finally ending on the 30th of September 1962. Other long running film presentations followed although the Dominion did play host to some live entertainment in the 60s as well, but this was for concerts and not theatre shows, and was only an occasional slot in to its regular Cinema use.

Keith Harris and Orville in 'Humpty Dumpty' at the Dominion Theatre in 1984 - Courtesy Martin Clark.I was at the Dominion myself on October 16th 1977 at 10.30 in the morning to witness the preview screening of the newest blockbuster to come out of Hollywood, 'Star Wars,' and the Theatre was the perfect place for it too. I remember being overwhelmed by that new invention in Cinema sound; Dolby Stereo.

'We Will Rock You' Dominion Theatre Premier PosterThe Dominion was converted back to live theatre use in 1981, although it also showed occasional films too for a while, notably 'Return of the Jedi' in 1983, but the Theatre has been staging large scale musicals exclusively now for many years. Memorable shows since then have been Dave Clark's 'Time' in 1986 which was hugely technical and innovative but was plagued with technical issues and received less than positive revues; 'Prisoner Cell Block H' in 1989, the musical rehash of the popular TV soap; 'Bernadette' in June 1990, the spectacular flop which ended the following month; 'Barnum' in 1992 which had previously been a major success at the Victoria Palace Theatre; 'Greese' in 1993 which ran for three years at the Dominion and then transferred to the Cambridge; 'Beauty and the Beast' in 1997, running for two and a half years; and of course 'We Will Rock You' which opened at the Dominion on the 14th of May 2002 and ran for 4,600 performances before finally closing on the 31st of May 2014.

The Dominion Theatre during the run of 'We Will Rock You' in October 2006. - Photo M.L.

Above - The Dominion Theatre during the run of 'We Will Rock You' in October 2006. The show opened on the 14th of May 2002 and ran for 4,600 performances before finally closing on the 31st of May 2014.

The Foyer of the Dominion Theatre during the run of 'Bat out of Hell' in September 2018. After 'We Will Rock You' closed after 12 years in May 2014 the Theatre went dark for major refurbishment by Nederlander which included, according to the Theatres Trust, 'a new 56 bar counterweight system, hospitality suites and reinstating the Orchestra Pit. The refurbishment also included new carpets, reupholstering of all the seats, new lighting fixtures, new handrails, new toilets and upgrading the box office.

Right - The Foyer of the Dominion Theatre during the run of 'Bat out of Hell' in September 2018.

An extensive restoration was undertaken including regilding the proscenium and ante-proscenium, restoring previously boarded up arches and the reinstatement of a huge ornate stone depicting two griffins which was once positioned above the entrance windows.' - The Theatres Trust, who have some interesting photos here. (More on the Theatre's restoration in 2014 can be found at Nederlander's own website here. Also see the photographs below.)

The Auditorium and Stage from the Dress Circle of the Dominion Theatre in August 2017 - Courtesy Christian Clark.

Above - The Auditorium and Stage from the Dress Circle of the Dominion Theatre in August 2017 - Courtesy Christian Clark.

The Auditorium and Stage from the now blocked off Balcony of the Dominion Theatre in August 2017 - Courtesy Christian Clark.

Above - The Auditorium and Stage from the now blocked off Balcony of the Dominion Theatre in August 2017 - Courtesy Christian Clark.

The Auditorium of the Dominion Theatre in August 2017 - Courtesy Christian Clark

Above - The Auditorium of the Dominion Theatre in August 2017 - Courtesy Christian Clark

The Dominion Theatre during the run of 'Evita' in October 2014 - Photo M.L.

Above - The Dominion Theatre during the run of 'Evita' in October 2014 - Photo M.L.

The Dominion Theatre during the run of 'An American in Paris' in August 2017 - Courtesy Christian Clark

Above - The Dominion Theatre during the run of 'An American in Paris' in August 2017 - Courtesy Christian Clark.

The Dominion Theatre is a Grade II Listed Building, and one of the largest Theatres in London's West End, with a seating capacity of 2,069. It is currently owned by Nederlander Dominion Limited. You may like to visit the Theatre's own website here.

London's West End Theatres

 

Adelphi Aldwych Ambassadors Apollo Apollo Victoria Arts Cambridge Charing Cross Theatre Criterion Dominion Donmar Warehouse Drury Lane Duchess Duke Of Yorks Fortune Garrick Gielgud Gillian Lynne Harold Pinter Haymarket Her Majesty's Leicester Square Theatre London Coliseum London Palladium Lyceum Lyric Menier Chocolate Factory Noel Coward Novello Old Vic Palace Peacock Phoenix Piccadilly Playhouse Prince Edward Prince of Wales Queen's Royal Opera House Sadler's Wells Theatre Savoy Shaftesbury St. Martin's Trafalgar Studios / Whitehall Vaudeville Victoria Palace Wyndham's

 

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