LocationThe Prince of Wales Theatre is hard to miss, as it is located right between tourist hotspots Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square. Situated near to many of London’s biggest attractions such as Big Ben and Trafalgar Square, it is in an ideal position for those who want to take in a show following a busy day of sightseeing. The local area is crammed with affordable restaurants and bars, with lots of pre-theatre meal deals to take advantage of.
Getting thereBy Tube: The closest station is Piccadilly Circus on the Bakerloo and Piccadilly lines, just 150 metres away from the theatre.By bus: Numbers 3, 6, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 22, 23, 38, 88, 94, 139, 159 and 453 all stop close to the theatre.By taxi or car: The nearest car park is the Q-Park at Trafalgar Square. Q-Park participates in a half-price Theatreland parking scheme, more details of which can be found on their website.
SeatingThe Prince of Wales Theatre has a seating capacity of 1160 for each performance, with seats split across two levels called the Stalls and the Dress Circle. As can be seen in the seating plan to the right, the Stalls make up the largest part of the auditorium and are on the ground floor level, closest to the stage. Generally the more central and nearer to the front of the section that seats are the better the view is, improving your experience of the production; however, the staggering of seats at the Prince of Wales Theatre means that even those seated towards the back of the Stalls should have an unimpeded view of the stage, even if they are not as immediately amongst the action. The prices for seats in the Stalls reflect their premium location, especially in the front and centre rows, but there are still some great special offers for tickets to Mamma Mia! and seats towards the back of the section can be cheaper than those in the higher section. The Stalls is divided into three sections, with a large central section boasting the better views of the stage. Best seats start around row J, rather than those closest to the stage itself. The rake is generous resulting in good overall views of the action.
The upper tier of the theatre, known as the Dress Circle, should not be ruled out when booking tickets as the overhang means that theatregoers can actually get a fantastic panorama of the stage, even if they are not as close to the action as those in the front of the Stalls. Ticket prices can be similar to the Stalls for the front rows of the section, but the further back you go the more likely you are to find the bargain seats for each performance. However it is worth noting that the seats towards the back of the Dress Circle are staggered very steeply and are not recommended for those who have difficulty walking or are scared of heights.
AccessibilityThe Prince of Wales Theatre constitutes of 2 main levels, the Stalls and the Circle. The foyer is accessible through the main entrance, which has level access into the theatre and a push button by the double doors. Once inside the theatre there is a lift that services all floors with the exception of the Circle. A special discounted rate is available for disabled patrons and their companions for most performances.
There are wheelchair spaces at the back of the Stalls section, which has level access from the main foyer. There is space for a companion to sit next to those in wheelchairs. Alternatively, there are a number of transferable seats in the Stalls with space for companions. All wheelchair spaces and transfer seating must be booked in advance due to limited space. There is an adapted toilet just off the Stalls, and the Stalls bar has movable furniture and is served by a lift. Drinks can be carried to disabled guests in their seats if so preferred.
An induction loop point is situated at the Box Office, and there is an infra-red system installed inside the main auditorium. Sign language performances are also scheduled on occasion. Guide dogs are welcome inside the auditorium, but the theatre staff can dog-sit if guests require it.Access bookings telephone line +44 (0) 344 482 5137 or access booking form
HistoryThe Prince of Wales Theatre was built in 1884 and was originally named the Prince’s Theatre, but changed its name two years later in honour of the future Edward VII. In its first few decades the theatre played host to productions by W. S. Gilbert, Ibsen and Sheridan, and in 1892 it presented the first English musical comedy, George Edwardes’ In Town. It was later home to many popular productions such as Ivor Novello’s debut play The Rat in 1924, as well as risqué French-style revues. Due to the theatre’s popularity, the building was demolished and rebuilt with a larger seating capacity.
Opening again in 1937, the theatre hosted many popular shows and was the home to movie premieres including Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator. The 1950s was a thriving decade for the Prince of Wales, as it was the home to many variety acts such as Norman Wisdom, Peter Sellers, Benny Hill and Morecambe and Wise. Future hits at the Prince of Wales Theatre included Funny Girl starring Barbra Streisand, Bedroom Farce, Underneath the Arches and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Aspects of Love, which broke the theatre’s box office records and ran for 1325 performances. Musicals including Rent, The Full Monty and Cliff - The Musical have all taken place at the theatre in recent years. In 2004 the Prince of Wales Theatre became the new home of ABBA musical Mamma Mia! which played until 2012 becoming the longest-running show in the theatre's history before moving to the smaller Novello theatre. In 2013 the theatre became the home of multi-award winning Broadway musical The Book of Mormon by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, which continues to play to packed houses.