Her Majesty's Theatre - Haymarket, London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 30.499 W 000° 07.904
30U E 699039 N 5710255
Quick Description: The first theatre was built here in 1705 and was named as the Queen's Theatre. It has been rebuilt several times and is now on its fourth build and fifth name.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 10/31/2012 1:00:54 PM
Waymark Code: WMFKQD
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member lumbricus
Views: 3

Long Description:

The Brit Info website [visit link] tells us:

"This theatre has changed names five times now and probably will change again sometime. Erected in 1705, it was named the Queen's Theatre. It later burned and was rebuilt, but by this time the monarch was a king. It became the King's Theatre then. In 1837, the monarchy changed so the name became Her Majesty's Theatre. Another fire caused reconstruction, and the name chosen was the Italian Opera House. This building was demolished and rebuilt to be named His Majesty's Theatre. Of course, when Elizabeth became Queen, the present name became the official name of the theatre.

Many famous operas were produced in the theatre until the fire of 1867. From 1897, the focus was mostly on plays with just an occasional opera. After World War II, musicals seemed to be the favored entertainment here. Chu Chin Chow, Bitter Sweet, Brigadoon, Paint Your Wagon, West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof and Phantom of the Opera are among the famous musicals which have played here."

The Arthur LLoyd website [visit link] also tells us:

"Her Majesty's Theatre which today stands on the Haymarket, London, opposite the Theatre Royal Haymarket, opened on the 28th of April 1897 with a play called 'Seats of the Mighty' by Gilbert Parker. Before the play an Inaugural Address was given by Mrs. Tree, whose husband, Beerbohm Tree, produced the play. The Theatre was the last completed work of the eminent architect C. J. Phipps in his lifetime.

The present Her Majesty's Theatre is actually the fourth Theatre on the site, the first was the Queen's Theatre, named in honour of Queen Anne, which was built by Sir John Vanbrugh on land which was a former Stable Yard in the Haymarket. The land was bought at the considerable cost, considering the time, of £2000 and the Theatre opened under the management of William Congreve on the 9th of April 1705 with an opera called 'The Loves of Ergasto' by Giacomo Greber.

The Theatre was not a success however, and was described as being better looking than it was functional, apparently the acoustics were terrible. The Theatre was later turned over to Italian Opera in 1709. It was here that Handel produced his first opera in England, 'Rinaldo' which was finally a success for this massive Theatre, and Handel went on to produce a number of operas there.

The theatre is a Grade II* listed building and the entry at the English Heritage website [visit link] tells us:

"Her Majesty's Theatre G.V. II* Theatre. 1896-97 rebuild by C.J. Phipps for the great actor-manager Sir H Beerbohm Tree whose consulting architect Romaine Walker devised the interior decoration. Stone faced with leaded and slate roofs. The remaining pavilion portion of a large symmetrical design (incorporating the now demolished Carlton Hotel) in a French Renaissance inspired style with big pavilion roof and dome combined with more Italianate detailing at attic level. 4 storeys, attic storey and half dormers. 9 windows wide with a 3 window return to Charles II Street continued in a long recessed 5 storey side elevation. Ground floor range of foyer, saloon and balcony doorways, between piers to 5 bay centrepiece, the outer doorways architraved with framed bay lights over, all under elegant glass and iron canopy. The 1st and 2nd floors, with giant pilaster order, the 5 centre piece advanced with a giant Corinthian colonnade forming a loggia in front of the architraved and corniced windows. On the 4th floor the 5 central bays are flanked by pairs of elaborately pedimented half dormers below the French mansard roof whilst over the centrepiece rises a square attic carrying a massive square French dome astride the roof surmounted by a slender octagonal lantern with a spreading gallery. Interior has wainscotted foyer with Ionic pilaster order and beamed ceiling with deeply recessed coffers above rich frieze. The auditorium with fanned stalls, cantilevered balconies and gallery has opulent but refined French neo classical theme inspired by Gabriel and DeWailly's Opera at Versailles with scagliola proscenium flanked by 3 tier boxes set between scagliola Corinthian columns; the curving side walls of the auditorium modelled as blind arcading with paired Corinthian pilasters; enriched cornice to main ceiling with large saucer dome etc. This extremely well planned theatre was Phipps's last work. Beerbohm Tree had the dome fitted up with a banqueting hall and living room as his home during his brilliant management of the theatre from 1897 till his death in 1917. Her Majesty's is the fourth royal patent theatre on this site since Vanburgh's building of 1704-5."

Theater Name: Her Majesty's Theatre

Country: United Kingdom

57 Haymarket
London, United Kingdom

Web Site: [Web Link]

Venue: Private Theater

Type of Productions:
Currently a long running musical.

Restored Building: yes

Date of Construction: Opened 28th April 1897

Architect/Designer: C J Phipps

Stage Type: Proscenium

Seating Capacity: 1161

Special Productions/Events/Festivals:
This theatre is owned by Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Company and productions here tend to be musicals written by Webber.

Visit Instructions:
One photo different from the one on the home page.

Briefly describe your visit -- date, occasion, your impressions.

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Recent Visits/Logs:
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