Lyric Theatre, London

The Lyric Theatre is a West End theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue in the City of Westminster. It was built for the producer Henry Leslie, who financed it from the profits of the light opera hit, Dorothy, which he transferred from its original venue to open the new theatre on 17 December 1888.

Lyric Theatre
The Lyric Theatre in April 2007
AddressShaftesbury Avenue
London, W1
United Kingdom
Public transit Piccadilly Circus
OwnerNimax Theatres
DesignationGrade II
TypeWest End theatre
Capacity915[1] on four levels
(1,306 originally)
Opened17 December 1888; 132 years ago (1888-12-17)
ArchitectC. J. Phipps

Under Leslie and his early successors the house specialised in musical theatre, and that tradition has continued intermittently throughout the theatre's existence. Musical productions in the theatre's first four decades included The Mountebanks (1892), His Excellency (1894), The Duchess of Dantzig (1903), The Chocolate Soldier (1910) and Lilac Time (1922). Later musical shows included Irma La Douce (1958), Robert and Elizabeth (1964), John, Paul, George, Ringo ... and Bert (1974), Blood Brothers (1983), Five Guys Named Moe (1990) and Thriller – Live (2009).

Many non-musical productions have been staged at the Lyric, from Shakespeare to O'Neill and Strindberg, as well as new pieces by Noël Coward, Terence Rattigan, Alan Ayckbourn, Alan Bennett and others. Stars appearing at the theatre included, in the early years, Marie Tempest, Johnston Forbes-Robertson, Eleonora Duse, Ellen Terry and Tallulah Bankhead, and in the mid-20th-century Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson and Vivien Leigh. More recently Alec Guinness, Joan Plowright, Glenda Jackson, John Malkovich, Woody Harrelson and Ian McKellen have starred.