The Leicester Square Theatre is a 400 seated venue near Leicester Square in London. It is one of many amazing performance venues in the capital city and hosts a wide range of well-known comedians and theatre companies. Alongside its 400 seat theatre, there is also a 70 seat lounge and bar performance area which means that not only do you get many well renowned and internationally acclaimed performers, but a variety of fringe and up and coming artists testing their metal at the historic venue. The fact that this venue is located right in the heart of London’s West End, with many other attractions and landmarks surrounding its stylish basement spaces. For any guest of the Park Grand London Lancaster Gate Hotelwho want to see side splitting comedy at jaw dropping low prices in a venue whose history spans London’s coolest icons, then the Leicester Square Theatre is the venue for you.
History – 100
Many of London’s most iconic venues have had a history of shape shifting and name changing. This is not surprising, in a city which is so rapidly being redeveloped expanded upon many venues come and go. The Leicester Square Theatre and its previous incarnations have been the starting points and kick starts to the careers of many well-known performers. With four different incarnations over the years, dating back to the 1930’s and being central focal points of London’s swinging 60’s and the punk invasion of the 70’s.
The Cavern in the Town
After the previous venue on the site of the Leicester Square Theatre was bombed in the destructive Blitz of the second World War, what would eventually become the Leicester Square Theatre was originally known as the Cavern in the Town. Primarily a music venue in a space converted from a church crypt, the Cavern in the Town played host to many of the most influential bands of the 1960’s. The swinging 60’s in London was a time of great frivolity and spread the seeds of London’s rapidly multiplying youth culture scenes. One such subculture which found a start in the Cavern in the Town was the mod culture, at the forefront of which was a band named the Small Faces. During their weekly residency at the Cavern in the Town, the beat rock group found a manager who went on to make them national treasures in the Mod movement of the late 60’s. It was not surprising therefore, that the Cavern in the Town became a famous hang out for the Mods, who were renowned for all night dancing and their signature mopeds and fashionable suits.
Notre Dame Hall
In the 70’s, the Cavern in the Town changed its face once again. Although still a music venue, the focus shifted more to rock and roll and punk acts than its former pop, soul and R and B stylings. It was in this period, from the 70’s right up until the end of the 20th century that the venue made its name as one of the go to venues to catch the hottest acts in London. With performers such as The Sex Pistols opening London up to the rebellious counter cultures of the period, Notre Dame Hall became one of the main rallying points for Punk acts. Other performers to have played at the Notre Dame Hall was Sting, lead singer of The Police as well as being the venue at which punk and Ska band The Clash previewed their material for seminal punk album “London Calling” in 1979. In 2001 Notre Dame Hall became a Theatre Venue simply named The Venue. Some of its most notable performances included Boy George’s musical Taboo and comedy show Round the Horne.
The Leicester Square Theatre
After the success of comedy show Round the Horne, the theatre changed its name once again to the Leicester Square Theatre and took a primary focus on Comedy. This is now the primary focus of the venue, being one of the most popular and central locations in London to catch the best in comic acts in the city. American comedian Joan Rivers debuted her 2008 show A Work in Progress by a Life in Progress at the Leicester Square Theatre, playing a whopping 75 shows to celebrate her birthday. Other comedians who have played at the Leicester Square Theatre include British “Comedians comedian” Stewart Lee as well as his wife, feminist Comedian Bridget Christie. Other acts in the past have included Bill Burr and Never mind the Buzzcock’s Bill Bailey. National treasure Julian Cleary has also had a comedy history spanning back to the Leicester Square Theatre. Other comedians at the venue this year include one half comedy double act Lee and Herring’s Richard Herring as well as American Comedian Ruby Wax who will be performing her show Frazzled from May till June.