Cambridge Theatre - Seven Dials, London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 30.820 W 000° 07.611
30U E 699354 N 5710863
Quick Description: A live stage theatre fronting on to Seven Dials.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 8/5/2011 6:11:15 AM
Waymark Code: WMC7PG
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 1

Long Description:
Architects were Wimperis, Simpson & Guthrie and the theatre opened on 4th September 1930.

The Cambridge Theatre opened on the 4th of September 1930 with a Review called 'Charlot's Masquerade' by Ronald Jeans. The Theatre was designed by Wimperis, Simpson and Guthrie and built by Gee. Walker Slater Ltd with an auditorium on three levels and a capacity of 1,275.

The Cambridge was but one of many Theatres which opened in London's West End in 1930. First there was the Prince Edward on April the 3rd, then the Cambridge on the 4th of September, then the Phoenix on the 24th of September, and the Whitehall on the 29th of September. Then came the rebuilt Adelphi Theatre on 3rd of December, and finally the Leicester Square Theatre which opened on December the 19th. Quite a flurry of Theatre building for one year in the 1930s.

The exterior is faced mostly with stone, the metal windows, the entrance canopy, and the display signs are painted Cambridge blue. Within, the shape is unusual where theatres are concerned, especially as regards the roof, since both vertical and horizontal sections describe elliptical curves. Across the ceiling is a series of transverse ribs, which advance in increasing proximity one to another up to the springing of the Dress Circle. Each contains The Cambridge Theatre auditorium in the late 1980s showing the Dress and Upper Circles, and the ribbed ceiling from which hidden lighting steps from back to front in sequence. Concealed lighting playing upon the downward dropping dome that would in any case lead the eye to the proscenium. The effect is intensified by the scheme of decoration, carried out in bands of lacquered metal-leaf, diagonally sloped and graduated from deep gold brown to pale honey yellow. The two boxes give the impression of being lobes of the Dress circle and each has a semi-circular arched opening, the tympanum of which is filled in with an embossed design furnished in matt-silver.

Other papers were not so favorable and in 1950, in an attempt to change the building's atmosphere, the auditorium was given a coat of garish red paint and re-lit with chandeliers and a large candelabra. I imagine that this was probably a lot worse than the original and when I worked there in the late 1980s it was back to a more sophisticated cream, and much of the original lighting had been reinstated, although sadly not all of it. The ribbed ceiling lighting does still work and computers now operate the stepping effect down towards the proscenium before a performance begins.

Another success was the Bernard Shaw Rep Season from 1935 for several years before the Theatre was given over to Film for a while. In the 1980s one of the projectors was still there in the followspot box.

The Cambridge Theatre during the run of 'Return To The Forbidden Planet' in 1989. The Cambridge then fell out of favor and in 1967 it became a Cinema again for a year. It was then home to a great many short but successful plays, many of them revivals. 'Peter Pan' ran at the Theatre for the second time in November 1987 and 'The Rink' in 1988 was a bit of a failure but 'Budgie' in 1988 was a success, and 'Return To The Forbidden Planet' ran for three years from 1989 and then returned again later for a short run.

'The Beautiful Game,' A new musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Ben Elton in 2000 was not the success they had hoped, but a production of 'Fame,' in 1995 and 2000, and which seems to be on tour around the West End for most of the time, did well as usual. In 2000 the Madness Musical 'Our House' ran for a year and then 'Jerry Springer The Opera' was a great success in 2003, despite the controversy surrounding it.

Text source: (visit link)
Theater Name: Cambridge Theatre

Country: United Kingdom

32 Earlham Street
London, United Kingdom

Web Site: [Web Link]

Venue: Private Theater

Type of Productions:
Currently musicals.

Restored Building: no

Date of Construction: 4th September 1930

Architect/Designer: Wimperis, Simpson & Guthrie

Stage Type: Proscenium

Seating Capacity: 1231

Special Productions/Events/Festivals:
Currently showing "Chicago" (July 2011)

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