History of Theatre Royal Haymarket:
The first incarnation of the Haymarket Theatre opened on 29 December 1720. During its early years, it presented a varied bill, containing French theatre, mock-operas and political satires. The theatre was closed under the Licensing Act 1737, but pieces were still performed either via temporary license or deceptions. In 1749, a performer called The Bottle Conjurer was advertised to appear. When this was revealed to be a hoax, the audience tore the theatre apart.
The building remained vacant until it came under new ownership. It was then renovated, enlarged, and reopened in 1767; the third patent theatre in London. It’s productions proved popular enough to warrant a visit from the King George III in 1794. So many people crowded to see the monarch that 20 people were crushed to death.
Redevelopment plans moved the theatre southward and the theatre reopened on the new site in 1821, and proved to be a popular comedy venue and home for the finest actors of the period. Popular productions of the 1800’s included Our American Cousin (400 night run), David Garrick, Charity, The Zoo, and premieres of An Ideal Husband and A Woman of No Importance.
The 20th Century saw a repertory season from John Gielgud, two refurbishments (1904 and 1994), and the further reinforcement of the Haymarket as one of London’s most prestigious theatre venues. To this day, it continues to attract some of the finest British theatrical artists, including Ralph Fiennes, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, and Trevor Nunn.