Gillian Lynne Theatre
Time Out says
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This modernist monolith is the first theatre in London to be named after a woman
In a first for the West End, former New London Theatre was renamed the Gillian Lynne in 2018 to honour the late, legendary choreographer of 'Cats' and 'The Phantom of the Opera'. Lynne interpreted some of Andrew Lloyd Webber's wildest creative schemes using an innovative mix of ballet and jazz dance styles, bringing new life to dance on the West End musical theatre stage. She's given her name to the theatre which has played host to some stonking great hits, including the current ‘School of Rock’, ‘War Horse’ and, of course, ‘Cats’ itself.
The Gillian Lynne Theatre is one of the West End's most modern venues: it turned heads on its opening in 1973, both for its imposing (if unlovely) glass facade, and for its impressive technical capabilities. Unlike the trad Victorian and Edwardian theatres that surround it, it's fully adaptable, with ingenious tech wizardry that lets it accommodate both proscenium arch and in-the-round stagings. Entire seating banks can move position at just the flick of a switch, there's a hidden lift to raise the orchestra pit, and moveable wall panels can shift the auditorium's shape.
Although you wouldn't know it today, the theatre sits on a site with a long history. In the 17th century, it housed a tavern called the Mogul, which went on to be converted into a popular Victorian music hall nicknamed 'The Old Mo'. In 1911, it was replaced by the Winter Garden - which, astonishingly, still included the original Mogul tavern within its walls, as its Stalls bar. The theatre's biggest hits included Agatha Christie's wildly popular courtroom thriller 'Witness for the Prosecution', but faced with flagging audiences, it was eventually demolished in 1965, allowing the current Gillian Lynne Theatre to rise, gleaming, from the rubble.
Drury Lane (corner of Parker Street)
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