Palace Theatre opened in 1891 and was designed by the architect Thomas Edward Collcutt. It was originally built for opera and opened as the Royal English Opera House with a lavish production of Arthur Sullivan’s Ivanhoe. It was then converted into a Musical Hall and renamed the Palace Theatre Of Varieties.
The theatre later became known for its musicals, the first long-running production being the 1925 musical comedy No, No, Nanette. Since then The Palace has been home to The Sound Of Music (2,385 performances), Jesus Christ Superstar (1972 until 1980) and Les Misérables, which played there for nineteen years before moving to the Queen’s Theatre.
For many years, the Palace was owned by Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group but was later sold to, and is currently operated by, Nimax Theatres.
Under Lloyd Webber’s direction, the theatre underwent improvements in 1983 which included efforts to restore it to its original grandeur. For example, in the auditorium, the paint was removed to reveal the original face of the marble and onyx panels. The outside of the theatre was also improved when, somewhat controversially, the neon sign was removed to show off the terracotta exterior which gives the venue its distinctive red appearance.
Palace Theatre is currently home to the world-wide phenomenon Harry Potter And The Cursed Child. The play opened in 2016 and holds the record for most Olivier Awards for a single production (9), won at the 2017 ceremony.