West End theatre
West End theatre is a common term for mainstream professional theatre staged in the large theatres of "Theatreland" in and near the West End of London. Along with New York City's Broadway theatre, West End theatre is considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world. Seeing a West End show is a common tourist activity in London. Society of London Theatre has announced that 2017 was a record year for the capital’s theatre industry with attendances topping 15,000,000 for the first time since the organization began collecting audience data in 1986. Box office revenues exceeded £700,000,000. Famous screen actors and international alike appear on the London stage. Theatre in London flourished after the English Reformation; the first permanent public playhouse, known as The Theatre, was constructed in 1576 in Shoreditch by James Burbage. It was soon joined by The Curtain. Both are known to have been used by William Shakespeare's company. In 1599, the timber from The Theatre was moved to Southwark, where it was used in building the Globe Theatre in a new theatre district formed beyond the controls of the City corporation.
These theatres were closed in 1642 due to the Puritans who would influence the interregnum of 1649. After the Restoration, two companies were licensed to perform, the Duke's Company and the King's Company. Performances were held in converted buildings, such as Lisle's Tennis Court; the first West End theatre, known as Theatre Royal in Bridges Street, was designed by Thomas Killigrew and built on the site of the present Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. It was destroyed by a fire nine years later, it was replaced by a new structure designed by Christopher Wren and renamed the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Outside the West End, Sadler's Wells Theatre opened in Islington on 3 June 1683. Taking its name from founder Richard Sadler and monastic springs that were discovered on the property, it operated as a "Musick House", with performances of opera. In the West End, the Theatre Royal Haymarket opened on 29 December 1720 on a site north of its current location, the Royal Opera House opened in Covent Garden on 7 December 1732.
The Patent theatre companies retained their duopoly on drama well into the 19th century, all other theatres could perform only musical entertainments. By the early 19th century, music hall entertainments became popular, presenters found a loophole in the restrictions on non-patent theatres in the genre of melodrama. Melodrama did not break the Patent Acts; these entertainments were presented in large halls, attached to public houses, but purpose-built theatres began to appear in the East End at Shoreditch and Whitechapel. The West End theatre district became established with the opening of many small theatres and halls, including the Adelphi in The Strand on 17 November 1806. South of the River Thames, the Old Vic, Waterloo Road, opened on 11 May 1818; the expansion of the West End theatre district gained pace with the Theatres Act 1843, which relaxed the conditions for the performance of plays, The Strand gained another venue when the Vaudeville opened on 16 April 1870. The next few decades saw the opening of many new theatres in the West End.
The Criterion Theatre opened on Piccadilly Circus on 21 March 1874, in 1881, two more houses appeared: the Savoy Theatre in The Strand, built by Richard D'Oyly Carte to showcase the comic operas of Gilbert and Sullivan, opened on 10 October, five days the Comedy Theatre opened as the Royal Comedy Theatre on Panton Street in Leicester Square. It abbreviated its name three years later; the theatre building boom continued until about World War I. During the 1950s and 1960s, many plays were produced in theatre clubs, to evade the censorship exercised by the Lord Chamberlain's Office; the Theatres Act 1968 abolished censorship of the stage in the United Kingdom. "Theatreland", London's main theatre district, contains forty venues and is located in and near the heart of the West End of London. It is traditionally defined by The Strand to the south, Oxford Street to the north, Regent Street to the west, Kingsway to the east, but a few other nearby theatres are considered "West End" despite being outside the area proper.
Prominent theatre streets include Drury Lane, Shaftesbury Avenue, The Strand. The works staged are predominantly musicals and modern straight plays, comedy performances. Many theatres in the West End are of late Victorian or Edwardian construction and are owned. Many are architecturally impressive, the largest and best maintained feature grand neo-classical, Romanesque, or Victorian façades and luxurious, detailed interior design and decoration. However, owing to their age, leg room is cramped, audience facilities such as bars and toilets are much smaller than in modern theatres; the protected status of the buildings and their confined urban locations, combined with financial constraints, make it difficult to make substantial improvements to the level of comfort offered. In 2003, the Theatres Trust estimated that an investment of £250 million over the following 15 years was required for modernisation, stated that 60% of theatres had seats from which the stage was not visible; the theatre owners unsuccessfully requested tax concessions to help them meet the costs.
From 2004 onwards there were several incidents of falling plasterwork or performances being cancelled because of urgent building repairs being required. These events culminated in the partial
W. G. R. Sprague
William George Robert Sprague was a theatre architect. He was born in Australia in 1863 the son of actress Dolores Drummond who returned with acclaim to London in 1874. Sprague was an articled clerk for Frank Matcham for four years in 1880 was an articled clerk for Walter Emden for three years, he was in a partnership with Bertie Crewe until 1895. He went on to design a large number of theatres and music halls all of them in London. At the height of his career he showed a productivity worthy of mentor Frank Matcham, producing six theatres in Westminster in less than four years. Unlike Matcham and Emden, Sprague studied architectural forms and conventions and used his knowledge in his designs, saying of himself that he "liked the Italian Renaissance" as a style for his frontages, but would take liberties when needed "to get the best effects" In 1902, the theatre newspaper The Era was describing him as "Britain’s youngest theatrical designer, with more London houses to his credit than any other man in the same profession."
In 1898, William Morton and manager of the Greenwich Theatre, commissioned Sprague to produced plans for a 3000-seat theatre to replace his existing theatre on a new site on London Street, but this was never followed through. Sprague died in Maidenhead in 1933. None of his music halls has survived; this is Theatre list of London Theatres and opening dates
The Cambridge Theatre is a West End theatre, on a corner site in Earlham Street facing Seven Dials, in the London Borough of Camden, built in 1929–30 for Bertie Meyer on an "irregular triangular site". It was designed by Wimperis and Guthrie; the theatre is notable for its elegant and clean lines of design. The theatre was refurbished in 1950—the original gold and silver décor was painted over in red, candelabras and chandeliers were added. In 1987, to restore the original décor, the theatre was once again refurbished, this time by Carl Toms; the theatre has a circular entrance foyer, with Grinling's bronze frieze depicting nude figures in exercise poses, the theme continues into the main foyer, with dancing nudes, marble pilaster up lighters and concealed lighting. English Heritage notes the Cambridge Theatre is a rare and early example of a London theatre adopting the moderne, expressionist style pioneered in Germany during the 1920s, it marked a conscious reaction to the design excesses of contemporary cinemas.
Theatres looked for a new style appropriate to the greater sophistication of their entertainment and found it in the Germanic moderne forms of simple shapes enlivened by concealed lighting, shiny steelwork and touches of bright colour. The theatre was Grade II listed in January 1999. Productions at the Cambridge Theatre have been characterised by short runs interspersed with several dark periods and the theatre was used for trade film shows in the late 1930s and again in 1969 as a cinema. Notable productions include Joan Sims in Breath of spring by Peter Coke in 1958, Tommy Steele in Half a Sixpence in 1963, Bruce Forsyth in Little Me in 1964, The Black Mikado, in the late 1970s the Kander and Ebb musical Chicago ran for 590 performances. More the'rock'n'roll' musical Return to the Forbidden Planet, based on Shakespeare's The Tempest and used 1950s and 1960s songs opened in September 1989 and lasted until early 1993, winning the Olivier Award for Best New Musical—beating the favourite, Miss Saigon.
The controversial show Jerry Springer - The Opera had a run from 14 October 2003 – 19 February 2005. This was followed by a month run of illusionist Derren Brown's Something Wicked This Way Comes tour, before the London première of Flying Music's Dancing in the Streets, which opened on 7 July 2005; this finished its run on 22 April 2006 and Chicago moved across Theatreland from the Adelphi Theatre to continue its London run into its tenth year at the theatre that hosted the show in the 1970s. It opened at the Cambridge on Friday 28 April. Chicago cancelled all performances post 27 August 2011. Matilda the Musical commenced performances at The Cambridge from 18 October 2011, with an official opening night on 22 November 2011; as of April 2017, Matilda became the longest running production in the theatre's history. Grease by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, starring at various times Shane Richie and Ben Richards Great Balls of Fire The Beautiful Game by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Ben Elton Fame Our House by Madness and Tim Firth Jerry Springer - The Opera, starring David Soul Something Wicked this Way Comes, starring Derren Brown Dancing in the Streets Chicago Matilda the Musical Guide to British Theatres 1750–1950, John Earl and Michael Sell pp. 102 ISBN 0-7136-5688-3 Cambridge Theatre homepage
Richard Verney, 19th Baron Willoughby de Broke
Richard Greville Verney, 19th Baron Willoughby de Broke was a British peer and conservative politician. Verney was the son of Colonel Henry Verney, 18th Baron Willoughby de Broke and Geraldine Smith-Barry and educated at Eton College and New College, Oxford, he married Marie Frances Lisette Hanbury, daughter of Charles Addington Hanbury, on 2 July 1895. They had John Henry Peyto Verney, who succeeded him as 20th Baron Willoughby de Broke; the historian George Dangerfield described Verney as "a genial and sporting young peer, whose face bore a pleasing resemblance to the horse.... He had quite a gift for writing and was not more than two hundred years behind his time", he wrote a book on foxhunting called "Hunting the Fox", published in 1921. Verney represented Rugby, Warwickshire as an MP from 1895–1900. In 1921, Verney sold the family seat, Compton Verney House, to Joseph Watson, a soap manufacturer from Leeds, elevated to the peerage in 1922 as 1st Baron Manton of Compton Verney, he retained.
On his death on 16 December 1923 his title passed to his son John Henry Peyto Verney. Lord Willoughby de Broke,'The Tory Tradition', National Review, pp. 201–13. Lord Willoughby de Broke, The Passing Years. Richard Greville Verney, Lord Willoughby de Broke. Hunting the Fox Gregory D. Phillips,'Lord Willoughby de Broke and the Politics of Radical Toryism, 1909-1914', The Journal of British Studies, Vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 205–224. Thomas C. Kennedy,'Tory radicalism and the home rule crisis, 1910–1914: The case of Lord Willoughby de Broke', Canadian Journal of History, April 2002. R. Bearman,'Compton Verney: A History of the House and its Owners'. Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Richard Verney Compton Verney House website
Seating capacity is the number of people who can be seated in a specific space, in terms of both the physical space available, limitations set by law. Seating capacity can be used in the description of anything ranging from an automobile that seats two to a stadium that seats hundreds of thousands of people; the largest sporting venue in the world, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, has a permanent seating capacity for more than 235,000 people and infield seating that raises capacity to an approximate 400,000. Safety is a primary concern in determining the seating capacity of a venue: "Seating capacity, seating layouts and densities are dictated by legal requirements for the safe evacuation of the occupants in the event of fire"; the International Building Code specifies, "In places of assembly, the seats shall be securely fastened to the floor" but provides exceptions if the total number of seats is fewer than 100, if there is a substantial amount of space available between seats or if the seats are at tables.
It delineates the number of available exits for interior balconies and galleries based on the seating capacity, sets forth the number of required wheelchair spaces in a table derived from the seating capacity of the space. The International Fire Code, portions of which have been adopted by many jurisdictions, is directed more towards the use of a facility than the construction, it specifies, "For areas having fixed seating without dividing arms, the occupant load shall not be less than the number of seats based on one person for each 18 inches of seating length". It requires that every public venue submit a detailed site plan to the local fire code official, including "details of the means of egress, seating capacity, arrangement of the seating...."Once safety considerations have been satisfied, determinations of seating capacity turn on the total size of the venue, its purpose. For sports venues, the "decision on maximum seating capacity is determined by several factors. Chief among these are the primary sports program and the size of the market area".
In motion picture venues, the "limit of seating capacity is determined by the maximal viewing distance for a given size of screen", with image quality for closer viewers declining as the screen is expanded to accommodate more distant viewers. Seating capacity of venues plays a role in what media they are able to provide and how they are able to provide it. In contracting to permit performers to use a theatre or other performing space, the "seating capacity of the performance facility must be disclosed". Seating capacity may influence the kind of contract to be the royalties to be given; the seating capacity must be disclosed to the copyright owner in seeking a license for the copyrighted work to be performed in that venue. Venues that may be leased for private functions such as ballrooms and auditoriums advertise their seating capacity. Seating capacity is an important consideration in the construction and use of sports venues such as stadiums and arenas; when entities such as the National Football League's Super Bowl Committee decide on a venue for a particular event, seating capacity, which reflects the possible number of tickets that can be sold for the event, is an important consideration.
The seating capacity for restaurants is reported as'covers'. Seating capacity differs from total capacity, which describes the total number of people who can fit in a venue or in a vehicle either sitting or standing. Where seating capacity is a legal requirement, however, as it is in movie theatres and on aircraft, the law reflects the fact that the number of people allowed in should not exceed the number who can be seated. Use of the term "public capacity" indicates that a venue is allowed to hold more people than it can seat. Again, the maximum total number of people can refer to either the physical space available or limitations set by law. All-seater stadium List of stadiums by capacity List of football stadiums by capacity List of American football stadiums by capacity List of rugby league stadiums by capacity List of rugby union stadiums by capacity List of tennis stadiums by capacity Seating assignment
David Verney, 21st Baron Willoughby de Broke
Leopold David Verney, 21st Baron Willoughby de Broke DL FRSA FRGS is a British member of the House of Lords. Leopold David Verney was born on 14 September 1938; the only son of John Verney, 20th Baron Willoughby de Broke and Rachel Wrey, Verney was educated at Le Rosey in Switzerland and at New College, Oxford where he studied modern languages. He inherited his father's title in 1986 and is one of the 90 hereditary peers elected to remain in the House of Lords after the passing of the House of Lords Act 1999. Since 1992, he has been Chairman of the St Martin's Theatre Company Ltd. - the building of the St Martin's Theatre was commissioned by his grandfather. From 1999 to 2004, he was President of the Heart of England Tourist Board. From 1990 to 2004, Willoughby de Broke was Patron of the Warwickshire Association of Boys' Clubs and from 2005 to the present has been Chairman of the Warwickshire Hunt. Since 2002 he has been a governor of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and since 2002 the president of the Warwickshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the Royal Geographical Society. On 19 November 2009, Willoughby de Broke introduced the Constitutional Reform Bill 2009-10 into the House of Lords, with clauses to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and the Human Rights Act 1998, to reduce the powers of the House of Commons and government, to reduce MPs' pay, to give more power to local authorities. On 29 May 2012, Willoughby de Broke introduced the Referendum Bill 2012-13 to the House of Lords, to make provision for the holding of a referendum on the United Kingdom's continued membership of the European Union, on the same day as the next General Election, he left UKIP in the autumn of 2018. He married Petra Aird, the daughter of Colonel Sir John Renton Aird, Bart. in 1965. They divorced in 1989, in 2003 he married secondly Alexandra du Luart, only daughter of Sir Adam Butler and a granddaughter of one-time Deputy Prime Minister Rab Butler, he has two sons by his first marriage and John Verney, two stepdaughters.
The heir apparent to the title is the Hon Rupert Greville Verney. Www.dodonline.co.uk www.cracroftspeerage.co.uk Debrett's People of Today paternal ancestry maternal ancestry thepeerage.com genealogics.org
Victoria Palace Theatre
The Victoria Palace Theatre is a West End theatre in Victoria Street, in the City of Westminster, opposite Victoria Station. The theatre began life as a small concert room above the stables of the Royal Standard Hotel, a small hotel and tavern built in 1832 at what was 522 Stockbridge Terrace, on the site of the present theatre – not, as sometimes stated, on land where the train station now stands; the proprietor, John Moy, enlarged the building, by 1850 it became known as Moy's Music Hall. Alfred Brown took it over in 1863, refurbished it, renamed it the Royal Standard Music Hall; the hotel was demolished in 1886, by which time the main line terminus, Victoria Station and its new Grosvenor Hotel, had transformed the area into a major transport hub. The railways were at this time building grand hotel structures at their termini, Victoria was one of the first. Added to this was the integration of the electric underground system and the building of Victoria Street; the owner of the music hall, Thomas Dickey, had it rebuilt along more ambitious lines in 1886 by Richard Wake, retaining the name Royal Standard Music Hall.
The Royal Standard was demolished in 1910, in its place was built, at a cost of £12,000, the current theatre, The Victoria Palace. It was designed by prolific theatre architect Frank Matcham, opened 6 November 1911; the original design featured a sliding roof that helped cool the auditorium during intervals in the summer months. Under impresario Alfred Butt, the Victoria Palace Theatre continued the musical theatre tradition by presenting varieties, under managements and revues; because of its music hall linkage, the plays were not always taken seriously. In 1934, the theatre presented Young England, a patriotic play written by the Rev. Walter Reynolds 83, it received such amusingly bad reviews that it became a cult hit and played to full houses for 278 performances before transferring to two other West End theatres. Intended by its author as a serious work celebrating the triumph of good over evil and the virtues of the Boy Scout Movement, it was received as an uproarious comedy. Before long, audiences were joining in at all the choicest moments.
The scoutmistress said the line'I must go and attend to my girls' water' without at least fifty voices in good-humoured support. A return to revue brought new success. Me and My Girl was a hit in its original production at the theatre, opening in 1937 starring Lupino Lane. In 1939, songs from this show formed the first live broadcast of a performance by the BBC, listeners could sing along to The Lambeth Walk. In early 1945, towards the end of the war in Europe, variety was presented under the stewardship of Lupino Lane. Headlining the bill from his radio series was Will Hay, with his schoolboy retinue of Charles Hawtrey and John Clark, among the "turns" was Stainless Stephen, a comic acrobat comedian duo, Victor Barna giving an exhibition, who would invite audience members up on to the stage to see if they could beat him in ten points. From 1947 through 1962, Jack Hylton produced The Crazy Gang series of comedy revues, with a glittering company of variety performers including Flanagan and Allen and Knox, Naughton and Gold.
The long-running Black and White Minstrel Show played through the 1960s until 1972. In 1982, a production of The Little Foxes, saw Elizabeth Taylor making her London stage debut. Another unusually long-running show at the theatre was Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story, that played for 13 years in London, beginning in 1989. After this, the theatre presented revivals of well-known musicals. In 2005, Billy Elliot the Musical opened; the theatre was purchased by Stephen Waley-Cohen in 1991. At the opening in 1911, a gilded statue of ballerina Anna Pavlova was positioned above the cupola of the theatre; this was taken down for its safety during World War II, was lost. In 2006, a replica of the original statue was restored in its place. In 2014, the theatre was sold to Delfont Mackintosh Theatres. After Billy Elliot ended its run in April 2016, the theatre closed for a multi-million pound refurbishment. In December 2017, the Broadway musical Hamilton re-opened the refurbished Victoria Palace. 1930: The Chelsea Follies 1934: Young England 1937: Me and My Girl 1945: Variety 1947: The Crazy Gang 1962: The Black and White Minstrel Show 1974: Carry On London 1976: Cilla at the Palace 1978: Annie 1982: Windy City 1982: The Little Foxes 1986: Barnum 1986: Charlie Girl 1987: High Society 1989: Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story 1995: Jolson 2005: Billy Elliot the Musical 2017: Hamilton: An American Musical Fame – The Musical by Jacques Levy and Steve Margoshes Kiss Me, Kate Grease starring Ben Richards and Lee Latchford-Evans Tonight's the Night Billy Elliot the Musical by Lee Hall, starring Tim Healy and Haydn Gwynne.
Hamilton: An American Musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda Victoria Earl and Sell, Michael Theatres Trust Guide to British Theatres 1750–1950, pp. 145 ISBN 0-7136-5688-3 Ronald Bergan: The Great Theatres of London. An Illustrated Companion. Patricia Dee Berry: Theatrical London. Ray Mander and Joe Mitchenson:'Theatres of London', Theatre Website Theatre history Information about Young England