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Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0JP
Address: Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0JP
The Phoenix Theatre opened on 24th September 1930, Designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, Cecil Massey and Bertie Crewe, it was built on the site of the Alcazar Music Hall, a performance space that had fallen from grace into a casino, as well as offering exhibitions such as ‘Beautiful Artists’ and ‘Posing Models’ – not shows one would expect to see it a respected music hall. The exterior of the building takes on a neoclassical look, with an interior designed by Theodore Komisarjevsky inspired by the interiors of traditional Italian theatres. The auditorium was decorated with intricate gold engravings, as well as decorated ceilings, lush red seats and sculpted wooden doors. The theatre has remained largely as it was constructed, not undergoing extensive renovations like other West End Houses.
The play chosen to open the Phoenix Theatre was Noël Coward’s Private Lives, which Mr Coward also starred in alongside Laurence Olivier. It was a great success for the theatre, and Mr Coward could be seen again at the venue in 1936 with Tonight at 8:30 and Quadrille in 1952. Such was his association with the theatre that on his 70th birthday the bar in the foyer of the theatre was given the name the Noël Coward Bar in his honour.
The Phoenix Theatre saw a steady succession of plays take up residence on its stage, including John Gielgud’s Love for Love, and premieres of Terence Rattigan’s plays Harlequinade and The Browning Version. It wasn’t until 1968 that the theatre hosted its first successful musical, an adaptation of The Canterbury Tales, which ran for 2080 performances. Tom Stoppard’s Night and Day opened in 1978 for a two year run, before a host of musicals invaded the theatre in 1980, starting with The Biograph Girl by David Heneker and Warner Brown.
The theatre’s greatest success arrived in November 1991 in the form of Blood Brothers, Willy Russell’s musical. It ran for 21 years, finally closing on 10th November 2012.
The theatre is currently owned by the Ambassador Theatre Group.
The auditorium has three levels – Stalls, Dress Circle and Grand Circle.
The seats in the Stalls offer very good views of the stage, with a light rake in the seating helping seats further back. The Dress Circle obstructs the view from Row P onward.
The view from the Dress Circle is generally very good, though the rake of the seating is not as noticeable as in other theatres, so people may suffer if they happen to be sitting behind a particularly tall person! The overhang of the Upper Circle slight restricts the view from Row G onwards.
The Grand Circle is surprisingly close to the stage, which is great for feeling involved in the show, though the legroom at this level is not great.
Facilities At Phoenix Theatre
Seat plan: Phoenix Theatre Seat Plan
Facilities: Air conditioned
Infrared hearing loop
Access description: Main entrance (Phoenix Street) up a 10cm step through swing doors into the foyer. Box Office counter to the left. Staircases have handrails on both sides. Stalls down 24 steps from the foyer, Dress Circle up 21 steps (2 steps between rows). Upper Circle up 42 steps. Venue carpeted throughout.
Sound Amplification: Ezee portable induction loop at box office. Infra-red system in the auditorium.
Guide Dogs: Guide dogs are welcome but are not permitted inside the auditorium. Staff are available to look after dogs in the staff room.
Disabled Access: Please ask a member of staff to open the side entrance on Flitcroft Street. Space for 1 wheelchair user and companion in Box C; not suitable for oversized/large electric wheelchairs. 2 transfer seats available to Dress Circle A27 and A28. Venue is not suitable for scooters, however 1 transferee is allowed in the transfer seats.
Toilets: 11 steps to the women’s and men’s off the Stalls. 15 steps up from the Dress Circle bar to women’s and men’s at this level, and further toilets at Upper Circle level.
Disabled Toilets: Adapted toilet behind Box C in the Dress Circle. There are 2 slightly awkward turns
Nearest tube: Tottenham Court Road
Tube lines: Central, Northern
Location: West End
Railway station: Euston
Bus numbers: (Charing Cross Road) 14, 24, 29, 176; (Shaftesbury Avenue) 19, 38
Night bus numbers: (Charing Cross Road) 14, 24, 176 N29, N41, N279; (Shaftesbury Avenue) N5, N19, N20, N38
Car park: Chinatown (5mins)
Within congestion zone?: Yes
Directions from tube: (3mins) Take Tottenham Court Road south (towards Leicester Square) and the theatre will be on your left after 100 metres.NB: Central Line trains will not be stopping at Tottenham Court Road Tube Station until December 2015.