The Duchess Theatre opened in 1929. This intimate theatre is the West End’s smallest Proscenium Arch space. It has 494 seats on two levels and used to be well-known for its one-man shows and plays.
The theatre was designed by Ewen Barr and is built with the stalls below street level to avoid the need for a structure that would block out light to the windows of the surrounding buildings. Although the theatre remains much as it was when it opened, there was a large interior decoration scheme carried out in 1934.
The theatre opened with a show called Tunnel Trench and, one year later in 1930, The Duchess hosted the shortest run in West End history when the Intimate Revue closed without completing its first performance. It has also, on the other hand, hosted a number of long-running productions, with Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit completing a run of 1,997 performances there.
The Duchess Theatre is now owned by the Nimax Theatre Group and is currently hosting the hilarious and Olivier Award-winning The Play That Goes Wrong.