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You'll find an ever-changing line-up of drama in this well-designed 1907 theatre
The Gielgud is one of legendary and prolific theatre designer WGR Sprague's handful of surviving West End venues. Built in a neo-classical style with just one balcony, it opened in 1907 as the Hicks Theatre, named after actor-manager and playwright Seymour Hicks. Sprague originally designed it to have a 'twin' theatre, Queen's Theatre, which sat just a few doors down, but the twins don't look so alike these days after Queen's Theatre was heavily remodelled after a WWII bomb blast.
American impresario Charles Frohman took over in 1909 and renamed it the Globe, reopening the theatre with a drama by Winston Churchill’s mother, Lady Randolph Churchill. Taken over by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group in the 1980s and refurbished in 1987, it played host to several Ayckbourn premieres and acquired a famous theatre cat, Beerbohm, who on his death in 1995 received a front-page obituary in ‘The Stage’.
To avoid confusion with Sam Wanamaker’s Bankside Shakespeare’s Globe project, the theatre’s name was changed in honour of the great thespian knight in 1992, and in 2006 Cameron Mackintosh’s Delfont Mackintosh Group took ownership and embarked on a further round of refurbishments to both the facade and the interior, which were completed in 2008.
These days, the Gielgud is owned by the Delfont Mackintosh group and seats just under 900 people on three levels. Unusually among West End theatres, it mainly houses straight drama, with an impressive line-up of plays including 'Blithe Spirit' and 'The Ferryman'. But it's breaking with tradition in Summer 2019 by housing a special staging of long-running musical 'Les Miserables', which has long taken up residence in Gielgud's twin Queen's Theatre, during the production's planned revamp.
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