History of Noel Coward Theatre:
The Noel Coward Theatre opened on 12 March 1903 under the name the New Theatre and with an inaugural production of Rosemary. It starred the theatre’s builder Charles Wyndham. In 1920 the theatre I’ll Leave it to You; Noel Coward’s first play.
Many famous names would grace the theatre in the 1920’s and 30’s, mainly due to legendary productions starring John Gielgud. In Hamlet, Gielgud acted alongside Jessica Tandy and a young Alec Guinness, and in Romeo and Juliet, he appeared with Peggy Ashcroft, Edith Evans, and Laurence Olivier.
During the Blitz, the theatre became the home of the Old Vic and Sadler’s Well Theatre Companies, who both lose their theatres in the bombings. They would remain there until their theatres were reconstructed in the 50’s. 30 June 1960 saw the opening of Lionel Bart’s Oliver!, which proved a great success and ran for 2,618 performances.
The latter half of the 20th Century would bring more big names into the theatre. Examples include Judi Dench, Roger Rees and Donald Sinden in London Assurance (1974), Trevor Eve in Children of a Lesser God (1981), and Helen Mirren and John Hurt in A Month in the Country (1994). The Royal Shakespeare Company held exclusive rights to perform their London Season of tragedies there (the 2004/05 season saw Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet Macbeth, King Lear, and Hecuba).
Delfont Mackintosh Limited purchased the theatre in 2005 and, after a major refurbishment, re-opened the theatre as the Noel Coward Theatre on 1 June 2006 for the London premiere of Avenue Q.