The Shaftesbury Theatre was the last theatre to be built on Shaftesbury Avenue and was originally named The Princes Theatre. Able to seat 1,400 people, it opened in 1911 and has played host to many notable productions and famous faces over the last century. It’s now the largest independent theatre in the West End.
The Shaftesbury Theatre’s opening in 1911 was with a production of The Three Musketeers and, throughout its history, it has hosted a wide variety of shows.
In 1973, part of the theatre’s ceiling collapsed. The theatre could no longer be used for performances and plans were put in place to redevelop the site. Luckily, it was saved through a campaign to keep it open that managed to attain Grade II status for the theatre, protecting the original building and preventing the ground from being rebuilt upon.
The venue is owned by the Theatre of Comedy Company, which purchased the venue in 1984. In 2006, the theatre underwent a massive refurbishment, with new seats being installed in the auditorium. Since the work on the theatre was completed, it has hosted shows including the European premiere of multi Olivier Award-winning musical Hairspray, which remains the most successful production in the Shaftesbury Theatre’s history.