Duchess Theatre

Duchess Theatre

3-5 Catherine Street, London, WC2B 5LA
West End

The Duchess Theatre is one of the smallest proscenium based theatres in the West End. Ewen Barr, who designed the building, was not considered to be a particularly successful architect, but he overcame many of the challenges of the awkwardly shaped site to create a relatively successful theatre. It opened in November 1929 with a production of Hubert Griffith’s Tunnel Trench. Short runs of plays dominated the Duchess Theatre’s early years, including works by Emlyn Williams and T. S. Eliot in the 1930s, but none quite so short as the 1930 production of The Intimate Revue, which opened and closed on the same night, March 11th, the shortest run of a production in West End history!

Fortunately, the theatre’s luck turned around and long running productions such as Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit in 1942, the musical Oh! Calcutta! In 1974 and Marc Camoletti’s Don’t Dress For Dinner in 1992 have ensured that the theatre never remained empty for very long.

Other than a run of Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story in 2007, the Duchess Theatre has almost exclusively been home to straight plays rather than musicals over the last twenty years, and has seen several stars appear on its stage, including:

Maureen Lipman, Eileen Atkins, Michael Gambon, Bill Nighy, David Suchet, Henry Goodman, Mark Rylance, Dominic West, Ruby Wax, Alex Jennings, Lenny Henry and Kathleen Turner.

The Theatre is currently owned by Nimax Theatres and plays host to the 2015 Olivier Award winning comedy The Play That Goes Wrong.


The auditorium has two levels – Stalls and Grand Circle.

In the Stalls, seats curve inwards towards the end of each row and the seats are not raked until Row G. The Grand Circle also overhangs the Stalls from Row G onwards.

The Circle offers good views throughout, and it is a very intimate theatre so does not feel removed from the action.

Last Decade of Productions

Show Opened Closed Links
The Play That Goes Wrong September 2014 - Review
Bakersfield Mist May 2014 August 2014 Review
Cool Rider Live! April 2014 April 2014  
Tell Me On A Sunday February 2014 March 2014 Review
Beckett Trilogy: Not I, Footfalls, Rockaby February 2014 February 2014  
The Wind in the Willows December 2013 February 2014  
The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui September 2013 December 2013  
Fences June 2013 September 2013 Review
Untold Stories April 2013 June 2013  
The Boy With Tape On His Face December 2012 January 2013  
Our Boys October 2012 December 2012 Review
The Hurly Burly Show July 2012 September 2012  
The RSC's Written on the Heart April 2012 May 2012  
The Pitmen Painters October 2011 April 2012 Review
Ruby Wax: Losing It August 2011 October 2011  
Butley June 2011 August 2011  
Ecstasy April 2011 May 2011  
Sign of the Times March 2011 April 2011 Review
Love Story December 2010 February 2011 Review
Krapp's Last Tape September 2010 November 2010 Review
The Secret of Sherlock Holmes July 2010 September 2010 Review
The Fantasticks June 2010 June 2010 Review
The Last Five Years & Tick, Tick... Boom! May 2010 May 2010  
Ghosts February 2010 March 2010 Review
Morecambe December 2009 January 2010  
Endgame October 2009 December 2009 Review
Taking Sides / Collaboration May 2009 August 2009 Review
Plague Over England February 2009 May 2009 Review
Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story August 2007 February 2009 Review
Hound of the Baskervilles April 2007 June 2007 Review
Underneath the Lintel February 2007 March 2007 Review
Stones in his Pockets November 2006 December 2006  
See How They Run June 2006 October 2006 Review


Travel Info
Nearest tube: 
Covent Garden
Tube lines: 
Railway station: 
Charing Cross
Bus numbers: 
(Aldwych) RV1, 6, 11, 13, 23, 59, 68, 87, 171, 172, 188, X68
Night bus numbers: 
(Aldwych) 6, 23, 188, N11, N13, N26, N47, N68, N87, N89, N155, N171, N551
Car park: 
Drury Lane, Parker Street (5mins)
Within congestion zone?: 
Directions from tube: 
(5mins) Go right on Long Acre; turn right into Bow Street and after 100 metres turn left (Russell Street) then immediately right onto Catherine Street, where the theatre is located 100 metres down.
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