Noel Coward Theatre
The Noël Coward Theatre opened on 12th March 1903. Back then it was named the New Theatre. Designed by W. G. R. Sprague, who designed several West End theatres, the exterior takes on a classical style, with a lavish interior in a Rococo style. The theatre was commissioned by Sir Charles Wyndham who’s other theatre, the Wyndham’s Theatre, sits behind the Noël Coward. A major refurbishment took place in 2006, though most of the theatres original features and design have been retained, and it is notable for its use of white and gold in its interior, and the portrait medallions that line the walls, depicting French Kings and Queens.
In 1973 the theatre’s name was changed from the New Theatre to the Albery Theatre, as a tribute to the theatre’s long-serving manager Sir Bronson Albery. Sir Cameron Mackintosh acquired the theatre through his company, Delfont Mackintosh Theatres, in 2005 and renamed the theatre the Noël Coward Theatre in memory of the famous playwright, who had also appeared at the theatre in 1920 in the first play of his to be performed in the West End, I’ll Leave It To You.
The theatre famously played host to two theatre companies whose theatres were destroyed during the Blitz – the Old Vic and Sadler’s Wells both performed at the theatre until their new theatres were built in the 1950s. The theatre also played host to the premiere of Lionel Bart’s world famous musical Oliver! The show was a huge success, running for 2,618 performances.
Several notable actors have appeared in productions at the theatre, including Roger Rees, Judi Dench, Vanessa Redgrave, Helen Mirren, Patrick Stewart and Jim Broadbent.
The auditorium has four levels - Stalls, Royal Circle, Grand Circle and Balcony.
The Stalls offers excellent views throughout, with the Royal Circle overhang only affecting the view from seats in Row S onwards. The raking of the seat isn't noticable in the front 5 rows, but the high setting of the stage allows for good views.
The view from the Royal Circle is completely unobstructed and the seating is well raked.
The Grand Circle is set fairly high, but again offers unobstructed views of the stage. The legroom is slightly narrow, however.
Whilst the Balcony is very high, the seats are well raked and comfortable with a good amount of legroom.