The Palace Theatre
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The Palace Theatre

The place where Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote Phantom of the Opera.


Andrew Lloyd Webber sold the theatre in 2012 to the Nimax theatre group to fund his restoration of other theatres, after owning it for 30 years. It was in the offices art the rear and top of the building where he wrote his award-winning blockbuster musical the Phantom of the Opera. His seventies musical Jesus Christ Superstar had a record-breaking run here too, as did Les Misrables which played at the theatre for nineteen years.

Richard D'Oyly Carte, producer of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas, commissioned the theatre in the late 1880s. It was designed by Thomas Edward Collcutt and intended it to be a home of English grand opera - it opened as the Royal English Opera House in January 1891 with a lavish production of Arthur Sullivan's opera Ivanhoe.

The theatre was Grade II* listed by English Heritage in June 1960. It's frontage has often been claimed to be the best advertising spot in London.

The Marx Brothers appeared at the theatre in 1922, performing selections from their Broadway shows.

In the 1977 Doctor Who serial, The Talons of Weng-Chiang, the Palace Theatre is one of the prominent settings of the story. The villain, Li H'sen Chang, masquerades as magician and ventriloquist performing at the theatre when the Doctor brings Leela there to discover the customs of her Victorian ancestors.

It's also where Prince Edward worked when he looked for a proper job in the early 1990's.

Location: Cambridge Circus, Shaftesbury Avenue


The Doctor Who story The Talons of Weng Chiang does feature a music hall called The Palace Theatre, but the theatre scenes were filmed in Northampton. I believe the name is a coincidence. The theatre in the story is meant to be located near the river, on the course of the River Fleet and is described as old in the 1890s. (Anthony Forth)
Posted by Anthony Forth on 2012-12-04