Piccadilly Circus Theatres

Tourists in Piccadilly Circus, in London's West End

Prince of Wales Theatre

The Prince of Wales Theatre on Coventry Street is located close to Leicester Square, which sits east of the theatre. Established in 1884, the West End venue was rebuilt in 1937 and fully refurbished in 2004. Originally known as the Prince's Theatre when it was first built, the current theatre seats 1,160 theatregoers. The Prince of Wales Theatre is about a one minute walk east of the Piccadilly Circus Tube Station. The first show to be staged at the theatre was a revival of The Palace of Truth. Other early productions included A Doll's House, Princess George, The School for Scandal, and Dorothy. Beginning in the early years of the 20th century, the Prince of Wales Theatre's attention turned increasingly towards musical comedies. Past productions include Funny Girl with Barbra Streisand and the long-running commercial success Aspects of Love by Andrew Lloyd Webber. In recent years, the Prince of Wales Theatre has showcased Mamma Mia! and The Book of Mormon.

Queens Theatre

Situated on Shaftesbury Avenue, the Queen's Theatre opened in 1907. It was built as a pair for the older Hicks Theatre, which is now known as the Gielgud Theatre. Refurbished in 2009, the Queen's Theatre can accommodate up to 1099 people on three levels. The two-tier theatre is approximately three minutes on foot from Piccadilly Circus Underground station, which lies to the south-west of the Queen's Theatre.

The first production at the Queen's Theatre was The Sugar Bowl, a short-lived comedy that was panned by critics. The theatre's stage has seen performances from renowned actions and works acclaimed playwrights over the years, including Fred Astaire, Kenneth Branagh, Noel Coward, Marlene Dietrich, Edith Evans, Nigel Hawthorne, Alec Guinness, Margaret Rutherford, Basil Rathbone, Fiona Shaw and Maggie Smith. The theatre has also staged several award-winning productions, including the Tony Award winning musical Contact and Les Miserables.

Gielgud Theatre

Located close to the Queen's Theatre, the Gielgud Theatre opened in 1906 as the Hicks Theatre. The Shaftesbury Avenue theatre seats 986 theatregoers on three levels. The theatre was renamed as the Globe Theatre in 1909 and adopted its current name 85 years later in advance of the reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in Southwark. Named in honour of John Gielgud, the theatre was refurbished in 2008 and is a three minutes' walk north-east from Piccadilly Circus.

The first performance at the theatre was a production of the musical The Beauty of Bath, which was co-written by the original theatre's namesake Seymour Hicks. Long-running productions at the theatre have included There's a Girl in My Soup and Daisy Pulls It Off. In recent years, productions have included Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit with Angela Lansbury, Craig Warner's Strangers on a Train, and Peter Morgan's The Audience with Helen Mirren. Notable actors to perform recently at the theatre have also included Daniel Radcliffe in Equus, Patrick Steward in Macbeth, and Michael Sheen and Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon.

Criterion Theatre

Completed in 1873, the Criterion Theatre is a 588-seat theatre on Piccadilly Circus. The theatre sits just west of the Piccadilly Circus tube station. The three-level venue was developed on the site of a 17th century posting inn, the White Bear. Originally intended as a concert hall complex that included a restaurant, dining rooms and a ballroom, the building was converted into a theatre during construction.

The first productions at the Criterion Theatre was An American lady and Topsyturveydom. Notable productions have included Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, The Waltz of the Toreadores, French Without Tears, Tom Foolery, Can't Play? Won't Play! and Run for Your Wife. In recent years, the Criterion Theatre has hosted the Reduced Shakespeare Company's The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) and the long-running melodrama The 39 Steps.

Piccadilly Theatre

The Piccadilly Theatre on Denman Street sits behind Piccadilly Circus. The large theatre seats 1,232 people on three levels and is located next to the Regent Palace Hotel in Westminster. The Piccadilly Theatre's simple façade hides an eye-catching Art Deco interior that features stunning pink, gold and green features. The theatre is approximately a two minute walk north-west of Piccadilly Circus.

Opened in 1928, the theatre hosted a serious of Broadway transfers during the 1960s and 1970s, including Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, A Streetcar Names Desire and Man of La Mancha. In recent years, the theatre has staged productions of Jersey Boys, Dirty Dancing, Viva Forever, Ghost the Musical, Grease and Guys and Dolls. Actors to have performed at the Piccadilly include Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, Henry Fonda, Michael Pennington, Barbara Dickson, Lynn Redgrave and Eric Sykes.

Lyric Theatre

Built behind a house front that dates back to 1767, the Lyric Theatre opened in 1888. Originally designed to accommodate 1,306 theatregoers, the theatre now features 967 seats on four levels. During its early history, the Lyric Theatre staged comic operas. Over the years, the theatre became known for its comedies, musicals and dramas. Located on Shaftesbury Avenue, the Lyric Theatre is a two minute walk north-east of Piccadilly Circus. The first production at the theatre was Dorothy, which was soon followed by Doris and The Red Hussar. More recently, the theatre has staged Death of a Salesman, Hairspray: The School Musical, and Thiller - Live.

Harold Pinter Theatre

Known as the Comedy Theatre until 2011, the Harold Pinter Theatre first opened its doors in 1881 as the Royal Comedy Theatre. Located on Panton Street, the theatre is about two minutes south-east from Piccadilly Circus tube station. The operetta Falka and Erminie were early premieres at the theatre, and during the First World War the venue gained a reputation for staging popular revue shows. Recent productions have included Noel Coward's Relative Values, Jez Butterworth's Mojo, Lucy Kirkword's Chimerica, and Harold Pinter's Old Times. Actors to have performed on stage have included Keira Knightly, Thandie Newton, Kirstin Scott Thomas, David Hyde Pierce, and Samantha Bond.

The Apollo

Located close to the Gielgud, Lyric and Queen's theatre, the Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury is a two minute walk north-east of Piccadilly Circus. The Louis XIV style Apollo Theatre opened in February 1901. The 775-seat West End theatre was designed specifically to stage musical theatre. The theatre suffered a ceiling collapse in late 2013 and its productions were temporarily transferred to nearby theatres.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the Apollo Theatre hosted a number of popular comedies and notable productions including Separate Tables, Orphans, I'm Not Rappaport, Driving Miss Daisy, Jeffry Bernard is Unwell, In Praise of Love, and Defending the Caveman. Recent productions have included The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Richard III, Twelfth Night, Long Day's Journey Into Night, and The Madness of George III. Actors to have performed at the theatre over the years have included Laurence Olivier, Margaret Rutherford, Eileen Atkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Peter O'Toole, Patrick Stewart, James McAvoy, Rosamund Pike, Joshua Jackson, Kathleen Turner, Stephen Fry and Josh Hartnett.