Noel Coward Theatre
St Martins Lane, London, WC2N 4AU
LocationThe Noel Coward Theatre is located on St Martin’s Lane, which is very close to the bustling market of Covent Garden. On the same road is the Royal Opera House as well as an array of shops and cafés, and the area is perfectly set up to receive theatregoers with a number of affordable restaurants offering pre-show deals.
Getting thereBy Tube: The nearest tube station to the theatre is Leicester Square which is a very short walk away and can be reached on the Northern or Piccadilly lines.By bus: Numbers 24, 29 and 176 all stop on Charing Cross Road just a short walk from the theatre.By taxi or car: The nearest car park is at the St Martin’s Lane Hotel, just 2 minutes from the theatre. They charge £18.00 for 4 hours.
SeatingThe Noel Coward Theatre has quite a small seating capacity of 872 people on four levels – the Stalls, Royal Circle, Grand Circle and Balcony. As you can see from the seating plan on the right, the Stalls is the largest section and is closest to the stage. Tickets here are the most expensive in the theatre due to the great views, but cheaper seats can be found towards the back of this section. The Stalls is not divided by any form of aisle, instead exists as one fairly deep and narrow section. Most seats fall within the proscenium, but for better views avoid the extreme ends of each row. A slight rake helps views across the whole section..
Located on level 1 above the Stalls is the Royal Circle. Seats in the front few rows of this section are arguably the best in the whole auditorium, as panoramic views of the stage below can be seen. Prices drop the further back you go, but there are some bargain seats to be found, especially if you get central seats. The section exists as one larger block with slips running along the side of the balcony. These seats are the most restricted and offer side views of the stage.
Above the Royal Circle is the Grand Circle. This section may be quite high up but it doesn’t hinder any views and will be a bargain if you can secure tickets near the front of this section as they will be a lot cheaper than Stall or Royal Circle tickets. Again this section is tall and narrow, with two longer slips running the length of the balcony. A good rake ensures views are on the whole unrestricted.
The highest seating area at the Noel Coward Theatre is the Balcony. It is very high up and requires a lot of stair-climbing to reach (55 steps), so bear this in mind if you have limited mobility. Views here are less clear and you may feel quite cut-off from the goings-on on the stage below, but prices are also lower and can be a great bargain.
AccessibilityThe Noel Coward Theatre is organised across 4 levels: the Stalls, Royal Circle, Grand Circle and Balcony. There are 3 steps up to the foyer from the main entrance, although there is an alternative entrance through the second side exit door on St Martin’s Court that has a ramp into the theatre. From the foyer there are 3 steps up to the Royal Circle, 30 steps down to the Stalls, 30 steps up to the Grand Circle and 40 steps up to the Balcony, with steps in between the rows on all levels. There are no lifts servicing the building. Concession tickets are available for all disabled patrons and their carers.
Wheelchair users should enter through the ramp on St Martin’s Court. There is 1 wheelchair space in Box M, with room for a companion to sit in the same box or in the Royal Circle if preferred. Transfer seating is available for any aisle seat in the Royal Circle, with a maximum of 2 wheelchairs and 2 scooters being stored during the performance. Wheelchairs are stored in the cloakroom and scooters in the foyer. There is an adapted toilet on the foyer level, and although all the bars within the theatre can only be accessed via the stairs it is possible for guests to be brought their drinks in their seats.
There is an infra-red system installed in the theatre, for which there are around 20 headsets that can be hired from the cloakroom. A deposit of £10 is required to use a headset. There is a portable induction loop system at the Box Office, although regrettably there is no loop system available inside the auditorium. Guide dogs are not permitted inside the auditorium but up to 2 dogs can be looked after by the management during each performance.Access bookings telephone line 020 7492 9930 or access booking form
HistoryThe Noel Coward Theatre was built in 1903, opening as the New Theatre following a commission by actor-manager Charles Wyndham. It was constructed in a classical style with pillars along the front, and seats 872 patrons across 4 levels. Successful, quality dramas were shown in its early days including Noel Coward’s debut play, I’ll Leave It To You, in 1920 and George Bernard Shaw’s St. Joan in 1924. The 1930s was the golden age for the theatre, with actor John Gielgud performing in and directing a number of hugely successful plays with actors such as Laurence Olivier and Alec Guinness.
Arguably the most successful production to ever take up residence at the theatre was Lionel Bart’s Oliver!, which opened in 1960 and ran for an incredible 2618 performances. In 1973 the venue was renamed as the Albery Theatre and hosted plays such as London Assurance with Judi Dench in 1974, with more Shakespeare plays and original works to come in the following years. Notable productions include the Oliver award-winning Children of a Lesser God in 1981, Patrick Stewart’s one-man version of A Christmas Carol in 2005 and Roger Allam’s hit play Blackbird.
In 2005, the theatre was bought by the Delfont Mackintosh theatre group who renamed the theatre to the Noel Coward and hosted the musical Avenue Q in 2006 following extensive refurbishment. In 2011 it was the home of jukebox musical Million Dollar Quartet for just under a year. In December 2012 the theatre became the home of the Michael Grandage Company's inaugural season for just over year. This included productions of Privates on Parade, Peter and Alice, The Cripple of Inishmaan, A midsummer Night's Dream and Henry V all with celebrity stars including Judi Dench, Daniel Radcliffe and Jude Law. The theatre is currently playing a stage adaptation of the hit film Shakespeare in Love.
- Impossible, opened 08 Jul 2016, closed 27 Aug 2016
- Mrs Henderson Presents, opened 09 Feb 2016, closed 18 Jun 2016
- A Christmas Carol, opened 30 Nov 2015, closed 30 Jan 2016
- Photograph 51, opened 05 Sep 2015, closed 21 Nov 2015
- Impossible, opened 24 Jul 2015, closed 29 Aug 2015
- Death of a Salesman, opened 09 May 2015, closed 18 Jul 2015
- Shakespeare in Love, opened 02 Jul 2014, closed 18 Apr 2015
- Good People, opened 10 Apr 2014, closed 14 Jun 2014
- The Full Monty, opened 20 Feb 2014, closed 20 May 2014
- Henry V, opened 23 Nov 2013, closed 15 Feb 2014
- A Midsummer Night's Dream, opened 07 Sep 2013, closed 13 Nov 2013
- The Cripple of Inishmaan, opened 08 Jun 2013, closed 31 Aug 2013
- Peter and Alice, opened 09 Mar 2013, closed 01 Jun 2013
- Privates On Parade, opened 01 Dec 2012, closed 02 Mar 2013
- Julius Caesar, opened 08 Aug 2012, closed 15 Sep 2012
- Hay Fever, opened 10 Feb 2012, closed 02 Jun 2012