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The Garrick Theatre, Charing Cross Road, London

The Garrick Theatre during the run of 'The Scottsboro Boys' in October 2014 - Photo M. L.

Above - The Garrick Theatre during the run of 'The Scottsboro Boys' in October 2014 - Photo M. L.

 

 

See a Seating Plan for this Theatre with non commercial and independent opinions on the best seats to book - From Seatplan.co.ukSee London's West End TheatresSee Theatreland MapsThe Garrick Theatre opened on the 24th of April 1889 with a play called 'The Profligate' by A. W. Pinero. The Theatre backs onto The Duke Of York's Theatre and was designed by Walter Emden and C. J. Phipps, and built by Messrs Peto with deep excavations so that the back of the Dress Circle would be level with the street. This caused some problems because an old river known in Roman times was discovered to be running through the land and held up construction considerably. At one point it seemed that the Theatre might have had to be given up on altogether but eventually it did get finished.

 

The Garrick Theatre during the run of 'Oh! my Papa!' in 1958 - Courtesy Gerry Atkins

Above - The Garrick Theatre during the run of 'Oh! my Papa!' in 1958 - Courtesy Gerry Atkins

 

Garrick Theatre seating plan - Pre 1907 - Click to EnlargeProgramme detail for ' The Bishop's Move' at The Garrick Theatre 1902.The Garrick's auditorium was constructed on four levels, Stalls and Pit, Dress Circle, Upper Circle, and Gallery, and was quoted as being able to seat 1,500 on its opening by the ERA, but by 1912 it was said to be able to handle only 1,250 and this after two Circle Boxes were removed. Today, although the bench seating is still in place in the Gallery, it has not been used for over 60 years, so the current capacity is a much smaller 656.

Left - A Programme detail for ' The Bishop's Move' at The Garrick Theatre 1902.

Two days after the opening of the Garrick Theatre, The Stage printed a review of the building in their April 26th edition which said:- 'The style of Mr Hare's new theatre is classic.

The whole of the Charing Cross Road front is executed in Portland Stone and Bath Stone and has a long frontage of 140 feet.

Programme detail for ' Rejane' at The Garrick Theatre early 1900s.Programme detail for ' Pilkerton's Peerage' at The Garrick Theatre 1902.The theatre is entered on the dress circle level, which is reached after passing through the outer vestibule by a large inner vestibule. A striking object in this is a handsome oil painting copy of the celebrated portrait of Garrick. From this, by a staircase on either side, the stalls are entered; and from it, by a staircase, the foyer level, with its refreshment saloon and smoke room, is approached.

Left - A Programme detail for ' Rejane' at The Garrick Theatre early 1900s.

Right - A Programme detail for ' Pilkerton's Peerage' at The Garrick Theatre 1902.

The saloon on the foyer opens on to a broad balcony facing on to Charing Cross Road, the balcony being covered with an arcade...

 

A Mid 1920s Seating Plan for the Garrick Theatre. Note the missing Gallery which is still there but has been unused now for over 60 years.

Above - A Mid 1920s Seating Plan for the Garrick Theatre. Note the missing Gallery which is still there but has been unused now for over 60 years.

 

Programme detail for ' The Wedding Guest' at The Garrick Theatre 1900. A Programme for ' Whitewashing Julia' at The Garrick Theatre early 1903.Programme for ' Madame Louise' at The Garrick Theatre early 1940s....The floor of the vestibule is laid with mosaic and that of the entrance hall and saloons in marquetry, and they are surrounded by dados of polished walnut in panels, the upper part of the walls being divided by marble pilasters, the panels thus formed being filled with mirrors and decorations in relief.

Left - Two Garrick Theatre programmes; ' The Wedding Guest', 1900, and ' Whitewashing Julia' in early 1903.

Right - An early 1940s programme for ' Madame Louise' at The Garrick Theatre.

The ceilings are of a highly ornamental character, the whole of these decorations being in the Italian Renaissance style. To every part of the house there are two separate means of exit, ten in all.'

The above text in quotes was first published in The Stage, April 26th 1889.

The ERA also printed a review of the building a week before its opening in their April 17th 1889 edition which said:- 'The house consists of four tiers, pit, stalls, dress circle, upper circle and gallery, and will hold about 1500 persons. The auditorium is decorated in Italian Renaissance style, the ornamental work being in high bold relief. The proscenium opening is formed by groups of columns on either side of the first proscenium box, the general form of the theatre being after that of Covent Garden, with four openings forming a square, supporting in their centre a circular dome. The box front of the dress circle tier is divided by groups of cupids supporting shields crowned with laurels, each shield bearing the name of a celebrated author.'

The above text in quotes was first published in the ERA, April 17th 1889.

 

An early Entrance Token for the Garrick Theatre - Courtesy Alan Judd An early Entrance Token for the Garrick Theatre - Courtesy Alan Judd

Above - An early Entrance Token for the Garrick Theatre - Courtesy Alan Judd - David Garrick, who the Theatre was named after, was born in 1717 and died in 1779 and it is unclear what the 1830 date on the Token refers to, perhaps you know.

 

1905 Postcard of The Garrick Theatre .The Garrick Theatre was very nearly destroyed in 1934 when plans were prepared to convert the building into a so called 'Super Cinema'. An architect was even named and a rebuilding date given but thankfully this plan never came to fruition and the Theatre survives much in its original state to this day.

Right - 1905 Postcard for The Garrick Theatre.

After the Second World War began the Theatre was tried out as a 'Forces Theatre' but this failed and the Garrick closed and didn't reopen until September of 1941 with a play called 'Room V'. After this though the Theatre has had many successes.

The Garrick Theatre is currently run by Nimax Theatres whose own website can be found here.

 

The Garrick Theatre whilst in production for 'Amy's View' in October 2006. - Photo M.L.

Above - The Garrick Theatre whilst in production for 'Amy's View' in October 2006.

The Garrick Theatre during the run of 'Zorro' in February 2009 - Photo M.L.

Above - The Garrick Theatre during the run of 'Zorro' in February 2009 - Photo M.L.

The Garrick Theatre, newly painted and displaying signage for 'Chicago' which transferred from the Cambridge Theatre in October 2011 for a November 7th reopening at the Garrick Theatre - Photo M.L.

Above - The Garrick Theatre, newly painted and displaying signage for 'Chicago' which transferred from the Cambridge Theatre in October 2011 for a November 7th reopening at the Garrick Theatre - Photo M.L.

The Garrick Theatre during the run of 'Rock of Ages' in March 2013 - Photo M.L.

Above - The Garrick Theatre during the run of 'Rock of Ages' in March 2013 - Photo M.L.

The Garrick Theatre during the run of 'Twelve Angry Men' in April 2014 - Photo M. L.

Above - The Garrick Theatre during the run of 'Twelve Angry Men' in April 2014 - Photo M. L.

 

London's West End Theatres

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