218-223 Piccadilly, St. James's, London W1V 9LB
Located in the heart of Piccadilly, the Criterion Theatre has been home to some of London’s longest running and most beloved comedies and farces. Opened in 1874, the theatre was designed by the renowned architect Thomas Verity with the interiors by Simpson and Son.
As the theatre’s auditorium is located underground, it was used by the BBC during the London blitz as it could easily be transformed into a studio that was free from the threat of destruction. From here, many programmes were both recorded and broadcast live.
During the 1970s there were some proposals for the theatre’s redevelopment that threatened its future as a performance space. In the 1980s, however, the venue was purchased by Robert Bourne who set up the Criterion Theatre Trust to ensure the future of this venue as a space for the performance of plays. The Trust still owns the theatre.
In recent years the theatre has been the home of productions include the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (Abridged) that ran from 1996 to 2005. From 2006 to 2015 the theatre hosted The 39 Steps, Patrick Barlow’s farcical adaption of the 1915 novel by John Buchan.
Since 2016 the theatre has been home to The Comedy About A Bank Robbery. The play, which was written by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields, was nominated for Best New Comedy at the Olivier Awards 2017.
The Greene Bar (stalls level) and Lord Attenborough Bar (Dress Circle) are only accessible via stairs. Drinks can be brought to customers in the auditorium. Drinks may be taken inside the auditorium in plastic cups.
Accepts Theatre Tokens:
Sennheiser Infra-red System.
Mens and Womens are located on the far side of the auditorium between the Stalls and Dress Circle levels. here is an adapted toilet on the Upper Circle, with step free access from Jermyn Street upon request.
Guide Dogs Policy:
Access dogs are allowed inside the auditorium. Staff can also dog-sit for two dogs per performance in the Manager’s office.
Wheelchair/scooter users should inform the Box Office in advance and come to the entrance in Jermyn Street, to the left of the stage door. There is a slight slope with handrails on both sides to the back of the Upper Circle. 2 spaces for wheelchair users next to C20. You cannot see a small part of the stage. Scooter users can access the venue, but have to be transferred. Transfer seating is available for wheelchair users and 1 scooter to aisle seats in Upper and Dress Circles. Each wheelchair user must bring a non-disabled companion.
Access From Theatre Foyer To Seat:
30 to Dress Circle, 60 to Stalls
To Upper Circle via Jermyn St
An alternative wheelchair entrance is located next to the Stage Door on Jermyn Street, behind the theatre.