Designed by WGR Sprague in Georgian style, the Aldwych opened in 1905. Diaghilev and Nijinsky rehearsed their controversial ‘Rites of Spring’ here in 1913 and from 1925 to 1933 the theatre housed Ben Travers’ farces, which came to be known as the Aldwych Farces. Other notable productions included Laurence Olivier’s staging of ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’, starring his wife Vivien Leigh, in 1949.
In 1960, the Aldwych became the London home of the RSC, and was used as a base for the company for 22 years, until they decamped to the Barbican. Landmark productions included ‘Nicholas Nickleby’ and ‘The Wars of the Roses’ based on Shakespeare's histories. Between RSC productions, theatre impresario Peter Daubeny mounted annual World Theatre Seasons that brought overseas work to London in its original stagings.
Latterly, the fare on offer at the theatre has been largely musical: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Whistle Down the Wind’ and ‘Fame’ played here and since 2006 it has hosted hen-night fodder ‘Dirty Dancing’.