Duke of York’s Theatre
Time Out says
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Serious drama is the order of the day at this Victorian playhouse with a pedigree
Whereas yer average West End theatre houses shows that run for years, or even decades, Duke of York's Theatre has a snappier (and more serious-minded) turnover. Its 640-seater auditorium houses an ever-changing line-up of hit dramas transferring from Off-West End and quality new productions of classic plays.
Its substantial theatrical pedigree includes the premiere of J M Barrie's 'Peter Pan' in 1904, which is commemorated in the venue's Barrie bar, decorated from mementoes honouring the boy who wouldn't grow up. It also made opera history at the turn of the century, when composer Puccini visited a production of the play 'Madame Butterfly' and was inspired to turn it into the heartbreaking opera of the same name. A 14-year-old Charlie Chaplin made his only stage appearance in 1905, in a production of 'Sherlock Holmes'. And the Duke of York's made history off stage as well as on; in 1929, a meeting held in the theatre resulted in the creation of actor's union Equity.
Duke of York's Theatre was built in 1892, and was the first playhouse constructed on St Martin's Lane – it's since been joined by London Coliseum, St Martin's Theatre, and Noel Coward Theatre. It's unusual among West End theatres for being a standalone building: originally, dressing rooms were in a neighbouring house, and reached by a covered iron bridge. Outside, it's all late Classical grandeur with ornate doric columns. Inside, it glows in subtle shades of red and tobacco brown, with three balconies and elegantly restrained gilt flourishes – perfectly designed to prepare an audience for some serious drama.
St Martin's Lane
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