Duke of York's Theatre

The Duke of York's Theatre is a West End Theatre in St Martin's Lane, in the City of Westminster, London. It was built for Frank Wyatt and his wife, Violet Melnotte, who retained ownership of the theatre until her death in 1935. It opened on 10 September 1892 as the Trafalgar Square Theatre, with The Wedding Eve. The theatre, designed by the architect Walter Emden became known as the Trafalgar Theatre in 1894 and the following year became the Duke of York's to honour the future King George V.[1]

Duke of York's Theatre
Trafalgar Theatre
The Trafalgar
Royal Court Downstairs (during redevelopment at Sloane Square)
Duke of York's Theatre in 2006
AddressSt Martin's Lane
London, WC2
United Kingdom
Coordinates51.51°N 0.1275°W / 51.51; -0.1275
Public transit Charing Cross; Leicester Square
Charing Cross
OwnerAmbassador Theatre Group
DesignationGrade II listed
TypeWest End Theatre
Capacity640 on 3 levels
(900 on 4 levels in 1892)
ProductionTouching the Void
Opened10 September 1892 (1892-09-10)
ArchitectWalter Emden
Duke of York's website at Ambassador Theatre Group

One of the earliest musical comedies, Go-Bang, was a success at the theatre in 1894. In 1900, Jerome K. Jerome's Miss Hobbs was staged as well as David Belasco's Madame Butterfly, which was seen by Puccini, who later turned it into the famous opera. This was also the theatre where J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up debuted on 27 December 1904. Many famous British actors have appeared here, including Basil Rathbone, who played Alfred de Musset in Madame Sand in June 1920, returning in November 1932 as the Unknown Gentleman in Tonight or Never.

The theatre was Grade II listed by English Heritage in September 1960.[2] In the late 1970s the freehold of the theatre was purchased by Capital Radio and it closed in 1979 for refurbishment. It reopened in February 1980 and the first production under the patronage of Capital was Rose, starring Glenda Jackson. In 1991 comedian Pat Condell performed sketches at the theatre which were later released on DVD.[3]

The Ambassador Theatre Group bought the theatre in 1992; this coincided with the successful Royal Court production of Ariel Dorfman's Death and the Maiden. A host of successes followed including the 21st anniversary performance of Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show and the Royal Court Classics Season in 1995.

The theatre is the London headquarters of the Ambassador Theatre Group, as well as the producing offices of their subsidiary Sonia Friedman Productions, whose revival of In Celebration starring Orlando Bloom played until 15 September 2007.

Recent, current and future productions

Nearby Tube Stations


  1. Violet Melnotte (1855–1935) D'Oyly Carte, Who Was Who (Boise State University) accessed 11 Oct 2007
  2. English Heritage listing details accessed 28 Apr 2007
  3. "Barf Bites Back! (VHS) (1991)". Amazon.co.uk. Archived from the original on 22 January 2009. Retrieved 16 March 2009.
  4. – Rent posts early closing notices. – IndieLondon, 2007.
  5. "Official Duke of York's Theatre Website", Ambassador Theatre Group, accessed 22 August 2011.
  6. "All New People". All New People. 30 April 2012. Archived from the original on 10 December 2013.
  7. "Doctor Faustus", accessed 29 February 2016.
  8. "West End transfer announced", accessed 14 May 2019
  • Who's Who in the Theatre, edited by John Parker, tenth edition, revised, London, 1947, p. 1183-4.
  • Guide to British Theatres 1750–1950, John Earl and Michael Sell pp. 108–9 (Theatres Trust, 2000) ISBN 0-7136-5688-3
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