UK – London – Dominion Theatre

Dates: 1929 – present

Official websitehttp://www.dominiontheatre.com

Part of the Nederlander Theatre group

History

(from An American in Paris website)

The historic Dominion Theatre sits majestically at the junction of Tottenham Court Road, Oxford Street and Charing Cross Road and first opened in 1929.

This landmark building, which was granted Grade II status by English Heritage in 1998, has recently completed a stunning £6 million restoration. All areas of the theatre were involved in the renovation, including the installation of a new flying system and the enlargement of the orchestra pit to facilitate large scale productions, and a full refurbishment of all five bars and ninety-five toilets front of house.  Almost 1.2 acres of bespoke carpets were laid front of house and over 400 gallons of paint used in the reconditioning of the gold detailing and plasterwork of the proscenium arch, auditorium ceiling, foyers and hospitality suites.  All of the theatre’s seats were reupholstered and additional French polished handrails added to aid accessibility inside the auditorium. The electrics and lighting fixtures also received an overhaul with the use of enough cable to stretch 4500 times the length of the Eiffel Tower.

During its illustrious history, the venue has operated successfully as both a theatre and cinema, including a record-breaking 4 years and 22-week continuous run of Joshua Logan’s film of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific, starring Mitzi Gaynor. Other blockbuster films have included Cleopatra, which starred Elizabeth Taylor; The Sound of Music (which ran from March 1965 to June 1968); the Gertrude Lawrence bio-pic Star!, with Julie Andrews; David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia and, in 1977, the UK premiere (simultaneously with the Leicester Square Theatre) of George Lucas’ Star Wars.

The Dominion Theatre has played host to countless legendary stars (including Judy Garland, Shirley MacLaine, Maurice Chevalier, Sophie Tucker, Jeanette Macdonald and David Bowie) and seven Royal Variety Performances. In 1931, Charlie Chaplin made a personal appearance at the UK premiere of City Lights (the classic silent film he directed, wrote and starred in). 

Over the years, the theatre has also welcomed many prestigious companies, lavish stage productions and long-running shows including: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast; Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake; London Festival Ballet (now English National Ballet); Welsh National Opera and the Olivier Awards.

Facilities

A large extension to the rear of house facilities was built to accommodate Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in 1996/7. It’s still in use today.

Selection of Past Productions

  • The Prince of Egypt (February 2020 – ?October 2020) 32 week engagement
  • White Christmas (16 November 2019 – 4 January 2020)
  • Big (September 2019 – November 2019) 9 week run
  • 2019: Closed to have a modular stage installed. Work has been delayed due to the need to remove asbestos.
  • Bat Out Of Hell (2 April 2018 – 5 January 2019)
  • Shen Yun ( – 25 February 2018)
  • An American In Paris (4 March 2017 – 6 January 2018)
  • The Bodyguard (15 July 2016 – 7 January 2017)
  • Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds (February 2016 – 30 April 2016)
  • Elf (5 November 2015 – 2 January 2016)
  • Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games ( – 5 September 2015)
  • Aliens Love Underpants ( – 5 September 2015)
  • White Christmas ( – 3 January 2015)
  • Evita (Previews 16 September 2014, Press Night 22 September 2014, Closed 1 November 2014)
  • Refurbishment by Nederlander Theatres including ‘a new 56 bar counterweight system, hospitality suites and reinstating the Orchestra Pit’.
  • We Will Rock You (Previews 26 April 2002, Press Night 14 May 2002. Closed 31 May 2014)
  • Notre Dame De Paris (May 2000 – ?)
  • Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (31 May 1997 – 11 December 1999)
  • Scrooge: The Musical (November 1996 – February 1997) featuring Anthony Newley
  • Grease (15 July 1993 – 19 October 1996 and 22 October 2001 – 3 November 2001)
  • Barnum (1992) transferred from the Victoria Palace
  • Bernadette (1990) ran for a month
  • Prisoner Cell Block H (1989)
  • Time (April 9th, 1986 – April 16th 1988)
  • Humpty Dumpty – Keith Harris and Orville (21 December 1984 – limited season)
  • Welsh National Opera – Amoco Festival Of Opera (December 1984)
  • National Ballet of Cuba ( – 12 May 1984)
  • Wayne Sleep – With A Dash of Christmas (previews 19 December, opens 21 December 1983 – ?)
  • The Magic of Silent Hollywood (1-3 December 1983) [silent films with accompanying orchestra]
  • United States – Laurie Anderson (8 hour multimedia epic. part 1 Weds 16 Feb 1983, part 2 Thurs 17 Feb)
  • Randy Newman (11/12 February 1983)
  • Luther Vandross (13/14 February 1983)
  • Alvin Stardust (29 November 1981)
  • Peter Skellern (25 November 1981)
  • Battle of Britain (October 1969 – ) [Film showing]
  • The Longest Day (June 1969 – September 1969) [Film showing]
  • Star! (18 July 1968 – June 1969) [Film showing]
  • The Sound of Music (March 1965 to June 1968) [Film showing]
  • Mostly used as a cinema
  • South Pacific (21 April 1958 – 30 September 1962) [Film showing]
  • 1958: The balcony level of the theatre was closed off in 1958, and now houses an event space called The Gallery. The current followspot position is at the front of the former balcony. See the Arthur Lloyd website for some great photos of the balcony.
  • Aladdin (December 1930 – February 1931)
  • 1930: The venue became a full-time cinema after the failure of the first shows.
  • Silver Wings (1929)
  • Follow Through (3 October 1929 – ?) opening production, ran for 148 performances
  • Opening staff: 
    General Manager – Oscar Barrett
    Stage Director – William Abingdon

Documents


Dominion Theatre - Arthur Lloyd 
[External Website]
From Arthur Lloyd website

LSI: Lighting Time (April 1986)
[1.22Mb PDF]
From Lighting & Sound International

LSI - Beauty and the Beast (June 1997)
[1.4Mb PDF]
From Lighting & Sound International

Location


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