SeatPlan Logo

Duchess Theatre London

Duchess Theatre, London - The Home of The Play That Goes Wrong

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 venue opens 45 minutes before the show starts. As it is one of the smaller theatres in the West End, the foyer and bars can become crowded, so it is recommended that you arrive early so you can buy a drink and get settled in your seat before the queues get too large.
A small cloakroom located on Stalls level is available for ticket holders to store larger items during the show. There is a small charge per item stored and space is limited so it is recommended that you avoid taking large items such as suitcases into the theatre.
There are two bars in the theatre – the Foyer Bar and Stalls Bar. Both serve a range of wines, beers, spirits and soft drinks as well as snacks such as crisps, nuts and chocolate. When you purchase your drinks before the show, it is worth pre-ordering your drink for the interval so you don't have to queue.
The venue 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, you can enjoy a premium quality steak and other American fine dining options at Christopher's, which is just around the corner from the theatre.
A stay at the nearby The Waldorf Hilton will add a touch of luxury to your trip to London. This hotel, which is just a three-minute walk from the theatre, boasts premium amenities and sumptuous 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

On performance days, the box office is open from 12pm until 8pm. Tickets can be purchased in-person and pre-booked tickets for that day's performance can be collected.
The direct phone number for the box office is 0330 333 4810. Further contact options and venue information can be found at https://nimaxtheatres.com/theatres/duchess-theatre/.
Your basket is empty.