LocationSt Martin’s Theatre is located in a great central spot, in between Leicester Square and Covent Garden tube stations and with excellent transport links across the city. Bang in the middle of London’s Theatreland, the theatre benefits from top notch local entertainment including lots of restaurants, bars, clubs and cafés to suit every age group, taste and budget. The market and street performances of Covent Garden are a short walk away, as is the nightlife of Leicester Square, and there are plenty of stores to satisfy the most avid shopper.
Getting thereBy Tube: The nearest station to the St Martin’s Theatre is Leicester Square, a 250m walk from the entrance.By bus: Numbers 14,19, 22, 24, 29, 38, 40 and 176 all stop close to the theatre.By taxi or car: Charing Cross station has a large taxi rank to make locating a cab easier. The nearest car park is the MasterPark at Cambridge Circus, although there is also an NCP on Upper St Martin’s Lane.
SeatingSt Martin's Theatre has been home to Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap since 1974. The show has recently celebrated its 60th year in London's West End and continues to be going strong. The theatre holds 550 audience members over three levels, and has now become a tourist attraction in its own right.
The Stalls are split into a front and rear section with the rear divided into a further three blocks by wide aisles. The section feels intimate and views are on the whole good across all levels. The front of the Stalls around row G provides the best leg room and best views of the stage and feel well within the atmosphere of this thriller. The Dress Circle is divided into three smaller sections by two aisles running length-ways. The section is wide and shallow, with the front row hugging the balcony, following the curve. Best seats are in the front central section around row C, before the overhang of the section above comes into view.
The Upper Circle feels significantly higher and is a lot deeper than the other sections. Divided into two by a central aisle, the Upper Circle is often the best place to grab a bargain priced seat. Aim to sit as close as you can to the front, avoiding the first row which has considerably less legroom.
AccessibilityThe St Martin’s Theatre is situated across 3 levels: the Stalls, Dress Circle and Upper Circle. From the pavement there are 3 shallow steps to the foyer, with a ramp available from the theatre staff for those who require it. From the main foyer there are 22 steps down to the Stalls and 5 steps up to the back of the Dress Circle - unfortunately there are no lifts operating within the venue. Concessions are available for all disabled patrons.
Wheelchair users should access the theatre through the ramp at the main entrance, after which point there are 2 dedicated wheelchair spaces; one is in Box C and the other is in the Dress Circle. There is a space for a companion to sit next to the visitor in a wheelchair, and transfer seating is also available to any aisle seat in the Dress Circle. The Stalls are not accessible to wheelchair or scooter users due to the number of steps. There is an adapted toilet on the Dress Circle level, accessible through the entrance on Tower Court. All the bars within the theatre can only be reached via stairs, but drinks can be brought to disabled patrons within the auditorium.
A Sennheiser infra-red system is installed within the auditorium, with signed events also scheduled on occasion. Audio-described tours are also available. A maximum of 4 guide dogs are permitted to accompany their owners inside the theatre for the duration of a show; alternatively, the management can dog-sit during each performance.Access bookings telephone line +44 (0) 20 7836 1443 or access booking form
HistoryThe St Martin’s Theatre was initially conceived as part of a pair with the Ambassadors Theatre, both of which are situated on West Street in the heart of London’s Theatreland. Despite being designed at the same time St Martin’s Theatre was delayed by the onslaught of the First World War, and was not completed until November 1916. Whilst both theatres were opened in roughly the same period and were designed by the same architect, W. G. R. Sprague, they differ significantly in terms of appearance - where the Ambassadors has a more traditional, plasterwork interior, the refurbished interior at St Martin’s is of polished wood and is unique within the West End. It is a Grade II-listed property and is one of the smaller West End theatres, seating just 550 per show.
The first production to take place at the theatre was the Edwardian musical comedy Houp La!, which opened in November 1916. The famous playwright J. B. Priestley premiered his play When We Are Married at the theatre in 1938, and St Martin’s had further success with Edward Percy’s The Shop At Sly Corner in 1945, which ran for a total of 863 performances. The thriller Sleuth also had an impressive run of 3 years at the theatre, beginning in 1970.
Nonetheless, the production with which St Martin’s Theatre will forever be associated is Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, a West End institution that holds the title of the longest-running play in the world. It started playing in the West End at the Ambassadors Theatre in 1952 and transferred to St Martin’s in 1974, where it has remained ever since and clocked up over 25,000 performances.