Opening in 1904, the London Coliseum is one of the largest West End theatres in London, with 2,359 seats. It’s located on St. Martin’s Lane in the West End, close to the Duke of York’s Theatre and the Noel Coward Theatre.
Audiences today can expect to see their favourite operas at the London Coliseum, as well as musical offerings in the summertime. But, when the Coliseum first opened in 1904, it was home to variety shows – chariot races even took place. The idea stood that if shows weren’t accessible to the general public, then it didn’t have a place at the London Coliseum. This idea changed when World War Two began however, with the Coliseum changing its purpose as a canteen to support soldiers.
In 1968, the theatre became the home of Sadler’s Wells Opera, with the London Coliseum auditiorium redesigned to allow for a large orchestra. Nowadays, the Sadler’s Wells Opera is known as the English National Opera, but the London Coliseum has such a presence in the English opera calendar that it’s now the British home of operatic performances.
To allow for 2,359 patrons per performance, the London Coliseum stage must also be wide to stage huge spectacles. In fact, the London Coliseum has the widest proscenium arch in the West End, measuring at 55 feet wide.
In 2019, two musicals were staged at the London Coliseum: Man of La Mancha starring Kelsey Grammer and the West End premiere of the Gloria Estefan musical On Your Feet! Previous shows include Chess, Notre Dame de Paris and the West End premiere of Bat out of Hell before its Dominion Theatre transfer.
The London Coliseum seats 2,359 people across two levels - Stalls, Dress Circle, Upper Circle and Balcony. All seats offer an excellent view of the London Coliseum stage, so you can feel a part of the action.
Photo credit: London Coliseum (Photo by Tom Page on Flickr)