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Duchess Theatre London

About the Duchess Theatre

The Grade II listed Duchess Theatre, designed by architect Ewen Barr, opened in 1929 and is built on the site of a World War One Zeppelin-raid bomb explosion. Barr experienced several challenges designing the theatre as he was restricted by an 'Ancient Lights' law that forbade any new construction blocking the light of nearby buildings. This was overcome by designing the theatre low to the ground and placing much of the auditorium below ground level.

The Duchess Theatre is an intimate venue with a capacity of 499 and is the smallest in the West End to feature a proscenium arch. The theatre's first production was a play by Hubert Griffith entitled Tunnel Trench and since then has housed many productions, usually limited run plays and musicals, alongside transfers of smaller touring shows. It also held the record for the shortest West End run when a production of The Intimate Revue opened and closed on the same day in 1930.

In 2000, Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group acquired the theatre, before selling it to Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer's Nimax Theatres in 2005, who still own it today. The Duchess Theatre has been the home of long-running Olivier Award-winning comedy The Play That Goes Wrong since 2014.

Plan your visit

The Duchess Theatre opens around one hour before the show starts. The Box Office opens from 10am every day.
There is no specific dress code for the theatre. Patrons should wear attire that is comfortable and appropriate for the occasion.
Yes, the Duchess Theatre has air conditioning.
A small cloakroom is available for ticket holders to store larger items during the show. There is a small charge per item stored.
Upon entry to the theatre, security staff will undertake bag and ticket checks. Patrons are encouraged to arrive early to allow plenty of time.
There are two bars in the Duchess Theatre – the Foyer Bar and Stalls Bar. Patrons can purchase a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, along with a range of snacks, confectionery and ice creams.
The Duchess Theatre is located just a short walk away from Covent Garden, where there are many cafes, restaurants and pubs to grab something to eat before or after the show. Why not enjoy a pre-theatre dinner at The Ivy Market Grill, which serves a wide range of European favourites and is a five minute walk from the theatre. Alternatively, grab a steak at Christopher's Steakhouse, which is just around the corner from the Duchess Theatre.
A stay at the nearby The Waldorf Hilton will make your trip to the Duchess Theatre extra-special. This hotel, which is just a three-minute walk from the theatre, boasts plenty of amenities and dining options. For a budget option, take a look at the nearby Z Hotel Covent Garden, which has comfortable rooms and is just a 10 minute walk away.
The Duchess Theatre opened in 1929 and was designed by architect Ewen Barr. The theatre's design is unique as the designers had to combat an 'Ancient Lights' ruling, which prevented any new buildings from blocking the natural light of existing nearby buildings. This means much of the theatre is below ground level, including the stage and the stalls. The design also provides excellent sightlines in the circle level, as it is suspended from the roof, instead of being built using the more traditional method of pillars throughout the auditorium.

Help booking tickets

Tickets are held at the box office for collection on the day of your performance. Patrons should try to arrive as early as possible to avoid queues and allow enough time to enter the auditorium. Please ensure you bring your confirmation email and a form of ID.
The Duchess Theatre box office is open from 10am until 6pm on Mondays, and 10am to 8pm on Tuesday-Sunday for in-person bookings and collection.
The Duchess Theatre box office can be contacted directly on 0330 333 4810.
STAR (Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers) are the industry body that regulates the sale of London theatre tickets. When booking from a company you can check their ticket seller database to see if they are registered and conforming to STAR practices. When buying online, you should also check for the padlock in your browser URL bar to ensure the connection is secure.
The Duchess Theatre can be hired for private hire and corporate events. For full details of pricing and what the theatre can offer, please call 020 7395 0780 or email general@nimaxtheatres.com
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