Her Majesty’s Theatre

Her Majesty’s Theatre

Bask in the lavish décor of Her Majesty’s Theatre

Her Majesty’s Theatre is a historic West-End theatre in an opulent French Renaissance style offering a wealth of fin-de-siecle ambience and comfort.

Highlights

  • Admire the interior design of the auditorium and the chandelier before it is hoisted up as you wait for the show
  • Enjoy a few drinks in the bar during the interval
  • Listen to the music played by the live orchestra during the show

What to see and do

The Auditorium

The auditorium of Her Majesty’s Theatre is lavish and opulent. Although it is recognisably a Phipps theatre in its architectural style, the main features of its design and the entirety of its decor were by Romaine Walker. 

The theatre boasts a two-balcony design (the gallery is a backward extension of the upper-tier) with details openly adapted from Gabriel’s Opéra at Versailles. Features to notice include a scagliola proscenium frame with three tiers of boxes on both sides lined with Corinthian columns.

The Bars

There are three bar areas in Her Majesty’s Theatre and these are situated at Stalls, Royal Circle and Grand Circle levels. There is also a Champagne Bar in the Foyer.

The Phantom of the Opera

Built-in an ornate and lavish structure, the theatre is best known for hosting Andrew Lloyd Webber’s long-running musical The Phantom of the Opera.

The Gothic red and gold velvet features of the theatre’s interior make it the ideal venue for the production of the famous ‘Phantom of the Opera’ musical, which is set at the Opera Garnier. 

Original Victorian wooden understage machinery is cunningly used in the scenes where the boat travels across the lake.

Did you know: (5 interesting facts!)

  1. The name of the theatre alters according to the gender of the monarch. It is Her Majesty’s Theatre now but has been His King’s Theatre in the past. And it was originally known as ‘The Queen’s Theatre’.
  2. The building is Grade II listed and the wooden stage is regarded as one of the most historically significant in the country.
  3. The theatre’s capacity is currently 1,216 seats.
  4. The phantom of the Opera only closed for three days in 2008 allowing for the installation of an updated audio system.
  5. Her Majesty’s Theatre saw the opening of ‘Pygmalion’ by George Bernard Shaw.

History

  • 1705 – The first incarnation of the theatre was founded by John Vanbrugh on Haymarket.
  • The first performance was an opera – ‘Gli amori d’Ergasto’ by Jakob Greber.
  • 1711 – Handel was appointed the resident composer of the theatre which supported the production of 25 of his original operas over the next two decades.
  • 1789 – Her Majesty’s theatre burnt down during evening rehearsals – dancers had to flee the falling burning beams.
  • 1791 – Work completed on a new theatre building. Opera continued to be the main focus of the theatre.
  • The 1830s – Her Majesty’s Theatre heralded the era of the romantic ballet, and the theatre’s resident ballet company was widely regarded as the best in Europe.
  • 1868 – A third building was constructed in 1868 within the shell of the former theatre
  • and was designed to be more fireproof.
  • 28th April 1897 – Phipps’ final and present incarnation of the theatre opened with a production of The Seats of the Mighty by Gilbert Parker.
  • 9th October 1986 – the opening of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Phantom of the Opera’, the second longest-running musical in West-end history.

Facilities and accessibility

Wheelchair users can access the Stalls and drinks can be brought to them by staff. The main entrance is step-free and there is an alternative entrance to the Stalls on Charles II Street. To use this entrance, the Theatre Manager must be notified in advance. 

It is also advisable to contact the theatre in advance with details of any additional requirements. Discounted tickets are available for the companions of disabled patrons.

Assistance or guide dogs are always welcome in Her Majesty’s Theatre.

Extra legroom is available in the seats of the Royal Circle. A cloakroom is available where items can be checked in for a fee of £1.

Toilets – there is one accessible toilet suitable for wheelchair users and two standard Ladies toilets, one of which has three steps. There is one Gents toilet.

Strobe and special lighting effects are frequently used during the shows performed at Her Majesty’s Theatre.

Headsets can be borrowed from the box office at no additional expense.