The Duchess Theatre opened in London in 1929, and is one of the smallest proscenium based theatres in the West End. The Duchess Theatre was designed by Ewen Barr, who overcame many of the challenges of the awkwardly shaped site to create a relatively successful theatre. The theatre opened 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.
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. Typically, the Duchess Theatre has always been home to plays, except for Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story in 2007.
Many stars have appeared in shows at the Duchess Theatre including David Suchet and Mark Rylance. Since 2015, the Duchess Theatre has been home to Olivier Award-winning Mischief Theatre comedy The Play That Goes Wrong.
Duchess Theatre Seating Information
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.