Garrick Theatre: Wikis

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Garrick Theatre
Garrick Theatre in July 2007
Address
City
Country UK
Designation Grade II* listed
Architect Walter Emden, with C. J. Phipps
Owned by Nimax Theatres
Capacity 656 on 3 levels
(1889 800 on 4 levels)
Type West End theatre
Opened 24 April 1889
Production The Little Dog Laughed
www.nimaxtheatres.com/nimax/garrick
Coordinates: 51°30′35″N 0°07′41″W / 51.509722°N 0.128056°W / 51.509722; -0.128056

The Garrick Theatre is a West End theatre, located on Charing Cross Road, in the City of Westminster. It opened on 24 April 1889 with The Profligate, a play by Arthur Wing Pinero. In its early years, it appears to have specialised in the performance of melodrama, and today the theatre is a receiving house for a variety of productions. The theatre is named for David Garrick, considered the most influential Shakespearean actor.[1]

Contents

History

The Garrick Theatre was financed in 1889 by the playwright W. S. Gilbert, the author of over 75 plays, including the Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas. It was designed by Walter Emden, with C. J. Phipps brought in as a consultant to help with the planning on the difficult site, which included an underground river. Originally the theatre had 800 seats on 4 levels, but the gallery (top) level has since been closed and the seating capacity reduced to 656.

A proposed redevelopment of Covent Garden by the GLC in 1968 saw the theatre under threat, together with the nearby Vaudeville, Adelphi, Lyceum and Duchess theatres. An active campaign by Equity, the Musicians' Union, and theatre owners under the auspices of the Save London Theatres Campaign led to the abandonment of the scheme.[2]

The gold leaf auditorium was restored in 1986 by the stage designer Carl Toms, and in 1997 the front façade was renovated. The theatre has mostly been associated with comedies or comedy-dramas.

Sydney Grundy's long-running French-style comedy A Pair of Spectacles opened here in February, 1890. Mrs Patrick Campbell starred five years later in Pinero's The Notorious Mrs. Ebbsmith. Afterwards, the theatre suffered a short period of decline until it was leased by Arthur Bourchier, whose wife, Violet Vanbrugh, starred in a series of successful productions ranging from farce to Shakespeare.[3] In 1900, the theatre hosted J. M. Barrie's The Wedding Guest. Rutland Barrington presented several stage works at the Garrick, including his popular "fairy play" called Water Babies in 1902, based on Charles Kingsley's book, with music by Alfred Cellier, among others. The only piece actually premiered by W. S. Gilbert here was Harlequin and the Fairy's Dilemma (retitled The Fairy's Dilemma after a few days) a "Domestic Pantomime" (1904). In 1921, Basil Rathbone played Dr. Lawson in The Edge o' Beyond at the Garrick, and the following year Sir Seymour Hicks appeared in his own play, The Man in Dress Clothes. In 1925 Henry Daniell played there as Jack Race in Cobra and appeared there again as Paul Cortot in Marriage by Purchase in March 1932.

More recent productions are listed below and include No Sex Please, We're British (1982), which played for four years at the theatre before transferring to the Duchess Theatre in 1986. On 24 October 1995, the Royal National Theatre's multi-award winning production of J. B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls opened here, having played successful seasons at the Royal National Theatre's Lyttelton and Olivier theatres as well as the Aldwych Theatre and a season on Broadway.

In 1986, the Garrick was acquired by the Stoll Moss Group, and, in 2000, it became a Really Useful Theatre when Andrew Lloyd-Webber's Really Useful Group and Bridgepoint Capital purchased Stoll Moss Theatres Ltd. In October 2005, Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer purchased the Garrick Theatre, and it became one of five playhouses operating under their company name of Nimax Theatres Ltd, alongside the Lyric Theatre, Apollo Theatre, Vaudeville Theatre and Duchess Theatre.

The interior retains many of its original features, and was Grade II* listed by English Heritage, in September 1960[4].

Productions

Notes

  1. ^ Holland, Peter. "David Garrick". in Banham, Martin, ed. The Cambridge Guide to Theatre. London, Cambridge University Press. 1995. pp. 411-412
  2. ^ Vaudeville Theatre accessed 28 Mar 2007
  3. ^ Information about the theatre and other Victorian theatres
  4. ^ English Heritage listing details accessed 28 Apr 2007

References

  • Guide to British Theatres 1750-1950, John Earl and Michael Sell pp. 111 (Theatres Trust, 2000) ISBN 0-7136-5688-3
  • Who's Who in the Theatre, edited by John Parker, tenth edition, revised, London, 1947, pps: 477-478 and 1184.

External links

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