Lyric Theatre, London

The Lyric Theatre is a West End theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue in the City of Westminster.

Lyric Theatre
The Lyric Theatre in April 2007
AddressShaftesbury Avenue
London, W1
United Kingdom
Coordinates51.511111°N 0.133889°W / 51.511111; -0.133889
Public transit Piccadilly Circus
OwnerNimax Theatres
DesignationGrade II
TypeWest End theatre
Capacity915[1] on four levels
(1,306 originally)
ProductionThriller – Live
Opened17 December 1888 (1888-12-17)
ArchitectC. J. Phipps

Designed by the architect C. J. Phipps, it was built by the producer Henry Leslie with profits from the Alfred Cellier and B. C. Stephenson hit, Dorothy (he made £100,000 from this opera),[2] which he transferred from the Prince of Wales Theatre to open his new venue on 17 December 1888. It was the second theatre to be constructed on this stretch of Shaftesbury Avenue and is now the oldest in the street. The foyer and bars were refurbished in 1932–33, and the facade was restored in 1994. At present, it seats 915 on four levels, although originally it was designed with a seating capacity of 1,306.

Early in the theatre's history, it staged mostly comic operas, and later it has been a home to light comedies, musicals and straight dramas.

The theatre retains many of its original features (including being built behind an original 1767 house front, at the rear to Great Windmill Street, the former house and museum of Sir William Hunter) and the theatre was Grade II listed by English Heritage in September 1960.[3]

The Lyric Theatre still uses water to operate its iron curtain. Water was originally pumped from the river Thames to West End theatres and hotels and used to hydraulically operate heavy machinery like lifts. Hydraulic pressure is now provided by electric pump, but it can also be operated manually by two people.

The Lyric Theatre has been owned by Nimax Theatres since 2005 when Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer purchased it from the Really Useful Group (establishing the new Nimax group with the Apollo Theatre, Garrick Theatre and Duchess Theatre).[4]

Notable productions


  1. "Lyric Theatre". Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  2. The Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W.1
  3. English Heritage listing details accessed 28 April 2007
  4. "Lloyd Webber sells four theatres". BBC News. 11 July 2005. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  5. The Lyric Theatre, London
Further reading
  • Earl, John; Sell, Michael (2000). Guide to British Theatres 1750–1950. Theatres Trust. pp. 124–125. ISBN 0-7136-5688-3.
  • Parker, John, ed. (1947). Who's Who in the Theatre (10th, revised ed.). London. pp. 477–478.
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