The Shaftesbury Theatre
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The Shaftesbury Theatre

The theatre that saw the cast of Hair naked first!


The Shaftesbury Theatre was designed for Walter and Frederick Melville by architect Bertie Crewe. It was officially opened as the New Prince's Theatre, on 26th December 1911 with The Three Musketeers.

In 1919 Gilbert and Sullivan operas, presented by the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company did well and became a regular attraction here through the 1920s.

Sherlock Holmes actor Basil Rathbone appeared here in May 1933 when he played Julian Beauclerc in a revival of Diplomacy.

On 27th September 1968, American hippie rock musical Hair opened here after a year on Broadway. The previous day the Theatres Act came into place essentially abolishing Lord Chamberlain's powers of censorship dating back to 1737. This allowed the show's famous nude scene to go ahead, pushing the boundaries of what audiences had seen on stage in the West End.

Part of the ceiling fell in on 20 July 1973, forcing the closure of the show, after 1,998 performances. A year later it was Grade II listed by English Heritage.

Location: 210 Shaftesbury Avenue, WC2H 8DP