Top Ten Essential Architecture top ten London theatres  
     
  The majority of London's commercial "theatre land" is situated around Shaftesbury Avenue, the Strand and nearby streets in the West End. The theatres are receiving houses, and often feature transfers of major productions from the Royal National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company. (See the article "West End theatre", and see also the category Theatre companies in London).

The following list also includes the major non-commercial theatres in London, many of which are to be found beyond the West End.
 
  For a more complete list, see the main list  
1 The London Coliseum  

architect

Frank Matcham

location

St. Martin's Lane City Westminster, London

date

1904

style

NeoClassical

construction

stone

type

Theatre

The Coliseum Theatre (also known as the London Coliseum) is on St. Martin's Lane, in the City of Westminster. It is one of London's largest and best equipped theatres and opened in 1904, designed by theatrical architect Frank Matcham (designer of the London Palladium), for impresario Oswald Stoll. Their ambition was to build the largest and finest 'People's palace of entertainment' of its age.
 
     
2 Globe Theater  
013-Globe_theatre_london.jpg (105257 bytes)

architect

unknown 

location

Southwark

date

1599 to 1614

style

Elizabethan

construction

timber frame octagonal

type

Theatre

The Globe Theatre normally refers to one of three theatres in London associated with William Shakespeare.

The original Globe Theatre, built in 1599 by the playing company to which Shakespeare belonged, and destroyed by fire in 1613. 
The rebuilt Globe Theatre built in 1614, closed in 1642, and demolished in 1644. 
A modern reconstruction of the original Globe, named 'Shakespeare's Globe Theatre', opened in 1997. 
 
     
3 The Palladium  
088-London-palladium-ccbb.jpg (50933 bytes)

architect

Frank Matcham

location

the West End

date

c. 1890

style

NeoClassical

construction

stucco

type

Theatre

The London Palladium is one of the most famous of London's West End theatres. Built by Frank Matcham, a famous theatrical architect who designed two famous London theatres: the London Palladium and the London Coliseum. The annual Royal Variety Performance, the most prestigious Variety event of all, is staged at the Palladium.
 
     
Most of the theatres in "Theatreland" are of late Victorian or Edwardian construction, and they are privately owned. Most of them have great character, and the largest and best maintained are splendid, featuring grand neo-classical, romanesque, or Victorian facades and luxurious, detailed interior design and decoration. On the other hand, leg room is often cramped, and audience facilities such as bars and toilets are often much smaller than in modern theatres. The protected status of the buildings and their confined urban locations, combined with financial constraints, mean that it is very difficult to make substantial improvements to the level of comfort offered. In 2004, it was estimated that an investment of £250 million was required for modernisation, and the theatre owners unsuccessfully requested tax concessions to help them meet the costs.