29 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 7ES
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LocationThe Lyric Theatre is situated on the famous stretch of road known as Shaftesbury Avenue, one of the key sites for theatre lovers in London. In addition to neighbouring theatres such as the Apollo, the Lyric is nestled amidst an overwhelming selection of lively bars and restaurants, with Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus both a short walk away and with the restaurants of Chinatown a brief stroll down the road. The theatre is close to many of the most popular clubs and bars for tourists, and shouldn’t leave visitors at a loss for something to do.
Getting thereBy Tube: The nearest station to the Lyric Theatre is Piccadilly Circus on the Piccadilly and Bakerloo lines, just 250m from the theatre.By bus: Numbers 14, 19, 22B, 38, 53, 88, 94 and 159 all stop near the theatre.By taxi or car: Hailing a taxi shouldn’t be a problem in such a busy area of town, although you might have to venture a little further out than Shaftesbury Avenue itself which can be very crowded. The nearest car park is the MasterPark at Poland Street and Chinatown.
SeatingThe Lyric is a deceptively large theatre with room for almost 1000 patrons across 4 levels. The Stalls have no aisle and are oddly shaped, widening towards the centre and narrowing once again towards the rear around the sound desk. Pillars at row N can cause obstructions for those sat in their view, and seats in O-R at the rear of the stalls should be avoided. The best seats are the central block of seats from row E-M. Aim to sit as close to the middle as possible for the best overall view.
The Dress Circle again exists as one large block of seats with pillars in row F causing restrictions to rows G and H. The front five rows curve around the balcony meaning that those towards the end have a side on view rather than a clear view. Boxes on this level are similar, offering mixed quality views of the stage and action. The best seats are towards the centre, rows B and C.
The Upper Circle is similar to the Dress Circle in size and shape, and again features pillars, this time in the centre of row D. These can cause serious restrictions, so beware when booking. The front row wraps around the balcony, making it difficult to see, and the safety rail can create some visual black spots.
The Balcony provides good value for money but feels very far away and detached from the stage. It is divided into three sections with the best seats towards the front. Please note that this is 45 steps above ground level and can provide problems for those with mobility issues.
AccessibilityThe Lyric Theatre is a large venue with 4 levels: the Stalls, Dress Circle, Upper Circle and Balcony. There is 1 step up from the street level to the main entrance followed by a further 3 steps to the Box Office. Alternatively, the left-hand fire exit door called the Royal Entrance has a 4cm lip and then no further steps. The Dress Circle is 6 steps up from the Royal Entrance, with the Upper Circle and Balcony only reachable by a lot more steps. Concessions are available for all disabled guests and their carers.
Wheelchair users should enter through the alternative entrance, from which point there are no steps to Boxes C, D and E. There is space for one wheelchair in each box, plus room for a companion. Transfer seating is available to the Dress Circle, with wheelchairs stored in the cloakroom or store room on the same level. There is an adapted toilet just inside the Royal Entrance, and there are no steps to the Dress Circle bar from within the Dress Circle; however, drinks can be brought to patrons in their seats if preferred.
There is an induction loop at the Box Office and an infra-red system installed within the auditorium, with sign language performances and touch tours scheduled regularly. Guide dogs are allowed inside the auditorium, and a maximum of 3 can be looked after by the management during a performance if required.Access bookings telephone line 020 7492 9930 or access booking form
HistoryThe Lyric Theatre was the second to be built on the now famous Shaftesbury Avenue and today is the oldest surviving theatre, dating back to its official opening in 1888. The theatre has retained many of its charming original features, such as its facade of an original 1767 house front, and the red and gold bars and foyer area have remained pretty much the same since being refurbished in 1932. This gives a real sense of history to the building, which has been Grade II-listed since 1960 and is capable of seating 967 patrons across four levels. In its early years the theatre focused on comic operas as opposed to serious drama, with productions of Dorothy and The Mountebanks proving relatively popular with the London audiences. As the theatre moved into the 20th century, however, it began showcasing plays by some of the most famous writers of the period including Eugene O’Neill, Dodie Smith, J. B. Priestley, Terence Rattigan and Noel Coward, and big stars such as Vivien Leigh, Alec Guinness, Judi Dench and John Malkovich have all been known to tread the boards at some point.
Now owned by the Nimax Theatre Group, the Lyric Theatre plays host to a revolving series of plays and musicals. In the last decade classics such as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Death of a Salesman have been interspersed with productions such as Hairspray: The School Musical, Cabaret and even Eddie Izzard’s Stripped tour. The Lyric is currently showing the Michael Jackson tribute show Thriller Live, a dance extravaganza that incorporates the late King of Pop’s most famous routines into a biographical rendition of his life.
- The Gruffalo, opened 06 Jul 2016, closed 08 Jan 2017
- Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, opened 15 Feb 2016, closed 25 Jul 2016
- The Tiger Who Came To Tea, opened 25 Nov 2015, closed 10 Jan 2016
- The Gruffalo, opened 01 Jul 2015, closed 06 Sep 2015
- Room On The Broom, opened 26 Nov 2014, closed 11 Jan 2015
- The Tiger Who Came To Tea, opened 02 Jul 2014, closed 07 Sep 2014
- The Gruffalo, opened 20 Nov 2013, closed 12 Jan 2014