LocationThe Gillian Lynne Theatre is situated on the historic Drury Lane, in between the areas of Covent Garden and Holborn. Holborn is largely known as a business district within the capital, whereas Covent Garden is a favourite spot for tourists with its selection of shops and museums; however, both areas have spawned a plethora of budget to premium hotels, bars and restaurants in the surrounding streets to cater for both tourists and working Londoners.
Getting thereBy Tube: The nearest tube stations to the theatre are Covent Garden and Holborn. Covent Garden can be reached on the Piccadilly line, and Holborn on the Central and Piccadilly lines.By bus: Numbers 1, 68, 91, 168, 171, 188, 501, 505, 521 and X68 all stop along the Kingsway very close to the theatre.By taxi or car: The nearest car park to the Gillian Lynne Theatre is on Parker Street, costing £24.00 for 4 hours of parking. If you want to hail a taxi after the performance there is a taxi rank on Drury Lane, 20 metres away from the entrance to the Gillian Lynne Theatre.
SeatingThe Gillian Lynne Theatre is one of London’s most interesting theatre venues, seating 1100 people on two levels for each performance. The benefit of this is that there are very few seats with a restricted view and unlike in some larger auditoriums, you are unlikely to feel miles away from the main action.
The ground level of the theatre is known as the Stalls, and is the largest section of the theatre. As you can see from the seating plan to the right, the seats go all the way back to Row U; however, due to the wide stage and the comparatively small size of the auditorium you should be able to get a good view of the stage wherever you choose to sit. The auditorium is built in amphitheatre style, meaning that the seats surround the stage across many different levels. This can on the one hand be difficult to know where to sit, as each section boasts a unique view of the stage. The Stalls are divided into 6 blocks; a smaller front three sections that hug the curve of the stage and a large cluster propelling back into the auditorium. More central seats are around Rows O and N, seats 15-35 which offer a direct view of the stage.
The seats in the upper section of the auditorium are called the Dress Circle, and it is a much smaller part of the theatre. Despite being higher off the ground, Dress Circle seats are by no means inferior and in fact arguably present you with a better overall view of the stage. The Dress Circle again hugs the shape of the theatre, but is shallower and longer than the Stalls.
In both sections of the Gillian Lynne Theatre seats are priced very similarly, as there are few seats where there is not an excellent view of the main stage. There may be a slight variation between the seats in the very back rows and the sides of the theatre, but this does not mean that they are budget seats with an obscured view.
AccessibilityThe Gillian Lynne Theatre is split into 2 levels, the Stalls and the Dress Circle. There is level access into the theatre from the street via the main entrance, with an escalator to the mezzanine level from the main foyer followed by a further 32 steps up to the Stalls, 41 steps to the rear Stalls and 65 steps up to the Dress Circle, where there are 3 steps between each row. There is an alternative accessible entrance from Parker Mews into the Stalls area that the theatre staff are happy to open for disabled patrons. Concessions are available for all disabled visitors and their carers.
Wheelchair users must enter through the entrance on Parker Mews, from which point there is a lift for disabled patrons only that takes you to the rear of the Stalls, with a ramp to the lift entrance. There are 2 spaces for wheelchair users in N1 and N2 of the Stalls, with space for a companion to sit next to them. Scooter users have access to the main foyer but must transfer to a wheelchair for access to the auditorium. There is a maximum of one scooter space and two wheelchair spaces for transfer seating in the Stalls. An adapted toilet is located between the lift and the auditorium, and there is level access and movable seating in the bar. However, drinks can be brought to patrons in their seats if desired.
There is an induction loop at the Box Office and an infra-red system with headsets and neck loops in the auditorium - headsets are available from the main foyer. Guide dogs are welcome inside the auditorium, although the management can dog-sit up to 4 dogs during each performance if preferred.Access bookings telephone line +44 (0) 20 7087 7966 or access booking form
HistoryThe Gillian Lynne Theatre is a modern building that opened in 1973, although there has been a venue for entertainment and theatre on the present site since the Elizabethan era. Prior to the new building being opened it saw plenty of music hall and drama take to the stage, with productions of Hotel Paradiso, The Iceman Cometh, Witness for the Prosecution and Sally all playing here in the early 20th century. Other notable shows include Funny Face starring Fred Astaire, which would later be made into a film with Astaire and Audrey Hepburn in the lead roles.
Since being rebuilt and opening under its present name in the 1970s, the Gillian Lynne Theatre has been the home of a number of successful productions. After opening with a television recording of Marlene Dietrich’s one-woman show, the theatre went on to host the musical Grease with actor Richard Gere in the role of Danny. The following production, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats, went on to become the longest-running show in the West End with 21 years on the stage, later being overtaken by Les Misérables and the Phantom of the Opera. Since then the Gillian Lynne Theatre has showcased productions of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, the Blue Man Group and a musical version of Gone With The Wind, before the play War Horse transferred across from the National Theatre in 2009. The production was hugely successful for the theatre, winning numerous awards, transferring to Broadway where it won a string of American theatre awards, and being made into an Oscar-nominated film.
Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical adaptation of School of Rock opened in 2016 and enjoyed a highly successful run until it closed at the end of February 2020.