UK – London – Coliseum

Dates: 1904 – present

Designed by Frank Matcham for Oswald Stoll, this is the largest theatre in London, at 2359 seats. There are no pillars to block the view from any seat. 
Widest Proscenium opening in London at 55 feet wide, 34 feet high.  
The first theatre in Europe to provide elevators to take the audience to the upper levels of the house.
The first theatre in England to have a triple revolve on stage.  
Apparently one of the first places in the UK to sell Coca-Cola. 

Official website:

1904 – 1933 – Variety shows, musical comedies, stage plays
1933 – 1934 – Talkies arrived and films were shown for a year, including the RKO classic King Kong
1934 – 1961 – Variety shows, musical comedies, stage plays
1961 June – 1963 – Cinema – The theatre was leased by MGM after a run of poorly-received musicals ended.
1963 July – 1968 – Leased by Cinema to become the second of London’s Cinerama locations. Renamed the Coliseum Cinema.
1968 – Sadlers Wells Opera company moved in, after a large orchestra pit had been installed, and the house was fully restored and redecorated.
1974 – The Sadlers Wells company changed it’s name to the English National Opera
2000 – 2004 – Extensive renovation, with design team RHWL as architects and Arup as acousticians and engineers.
Currently, the Coliseum is still the home of the ENO and is also the home of English National Ballet.

Selected Productions

  • Spirited Away (April – July 2024)
  • We Will Rock You (2 June – 27 August 2023)
  • Carmen (Winter 2020)
  • Hairspray (April 2020 – limited season) starring Michael Ball
  • On Your Feet (14 June 2019 – 31 August 2019)
  • Man of La Mancha (26 April – 8 June 2019)
  • Chess (26 April 2018 – 2 June 2018)
  • Bat Out Of Hell (5 June 2017 – 22 August 2017)
  • The home of English National Opera


1971 (from The Stage Guide)
Electrics: Strand IDM board in rear stalls. Dimmers 240 (82 x 5kW, 158 x 2kW); 259 presets. Circuits – FOH 56; Flies 104; Stage dips 80 (includes perches). Socket type – 15A BESA. Total capacity available – 2700A on 9 phases. Special effects supply – 180A on 3 phases. Follow spots – 4 sunspots in rear of balcony. Footlights installed, but can be covered. 
Sound: Console SR. 3 amplifiers (2 x 100W and 1 x 50W). 1 tape deck. No turntable. 8 mic sockets (Cannon)

1986 (from the British Theatre Guide)
Switchboard: Rank Strand MMS, Rear stalls 240 ways. FOH Spots 35 x CCT 2k Silhouettes; 4 Battens; 2 Cyc; Floats Dips 12 each side + 4 connected; 5 Spot Bars Patt. 743. ADB 2k. 
Sound Equip: JBL Speakers on Stage and Revox tape and Midas 24/8 TR Console, Rear Stalls. 

Links to information about equipment at London Coliseum over the years

  • Liquid Dimmers (Strand)
  • SLD Dimmers (Strand)
  • Light Console (Strand)
  • IDM (Strand)
  • MMS (Strand)
  • Silhouette (CCT Lighting)
  • Documents

    London Coliseum - Arthur Lloyd 
    [External Website]
    From Arthur Lloyd website
    M193 London Coliseum Liquid Dimmer Control
    M193 London Coliseum Liquid Dimmer Control 
    Click on thumbnail to enlarge
    [2.2Mb  JPEG]
    From Strand Slide Archive
    M194 London Coliseum Liquid Dimmers
    M194 London Coliseum Liquid Dimmers 
    Click on thumbnail to enlarge
    [1.59Mb  JPEG]
    From Strand Slide Archive

    Mentions of London Coliseum in indexed journals




    View in Google Maps

    Stage Technology

    The first theatre in England to have a triple revolve on its stage, although this was rarely used.

    Huge stage space – 55 feet wide by 92 feet deep, flat floor (non-raked) stage. The widest proscenium arch in London. One of the first to have electric lighting.

    The theatre was listed by English Heritage in September 1960.

    See also