The Wyndham’s Theatre opened on 16th November 1899. Designed by renowned theatre architect W. G. R. Sprague, the theatre was commissioned by Charles Wyndham who also managed the Criterion Theatre. He had dreamed of building a theatre of his own, and left his duties at the Criterion to oversee the ambitious project of building the Wyndham’s Theatre. Wyndham also oversaw the construction of the nearby Noel Coward Theatre, named the New Theatre at the time, which opened four years later in 1903.
The theatre changed hands in its early years, with Wyndham passing over managerial duties to Gerald du Maurier in 1910. du Maurier also acted in a number of plays at the theatre including productions of Raffles by E. W. Hornung & Eugene Wiley and Bull-Dog Drummond in 1921. In 1930 the lease was taken over by Edgar Wallace who produced a number of successful crime plays at the venue.
In 1954, the Wyndham’s welcomed its first long-running production – Sandy Wilson’s musical The Boyfriend opened on 14th January and ran for over 2,000 performances. Another successful musical came to the theatre in 1972, the Roundhouse’s production of Stephen Schwartz’s Godspell, which ran for three years. The most recent long-running show at the Wyndham’s is Yasmin Reza’s play Art, which opened in 1996 for over 2,000 performances before transferring to the Whitehall Theatre in 2001.
The theatre has seen many notable actors grace the stage, including Alec Guinness, Vanessa Redgarve, Diana Rigg, Maggie Smith, Richard Griffiths, Helen McCrory and Judi Dench as well as celebrities such as Ruby Wax and Madonna.
In May 2005, the Wyndham’s Theatre was bought by Cameron Mackintosh through his company Delfont Mackintosh Theatres. The theatre was renovated in 2008 and reopened with a twelve month season of plays produced by the Donmar Warehouse.
The auditorium has four levels - Stalls, Royal Circle, Grand Circle and Balcony.
In the Stalls, the overhang of the Royal Circle affects the view from Row N onwards. The front 4 rows of seating are not raked, but other than that the seats in the Stalls offer excellent views of the stage.
Only the seats in Row G of the Royal Circle are affected by the overhang of the Grand Circle. Seats are well raked, offering great views of the stage, though the legroom could be better.
The Grand Circle is set very high in this theatre and the legroom at this level is problematic.
The Balcony is set behind and above the Grand Circle, so does feel far from the stage, but the view is unobstructed and the pricing is relative to this levels shortcomings.