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.