History of London Coliseum:
Originally titled the London Coliseum Theatre of Varieties when it opened on 24 December 1904, its inaugural performance was a variety bill. W. S. Gilbert’s final play; The Hooligan was performed in 1911 and on 8 April 1931, the musical comedy White Horse Inn began a run of 651 performances. During the Second World War, it was a canteen for works of the Air Raid Patrol, and Winston Churchill gave a speech from the stage.
From 1961, the theatre began showing movies. This would last seven years, ending with the arrival of the Saddler’s Wells Opera Company. In 1974, the company changed their name to the English National Opera. They would finally purchase the freehold of the building in 1992. An extensive and detailed restoration began in 2000 with the theatre finally re-opening in 2004.
The Theatre houses the widest proscenium arch in London, including an 80-foot wide stage, and one was of the first theatre to have electric lighting. It was also constructed with a revolving stage, though this was rarely used.