Eventim Apollo (Hammersmith)
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Address: 45 Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith, London W6 9QH
Air Conditioning: No
Current Owner: AEG Presents/Eventim UK
Discounts, Day seats, Rush tickets & Lotteries
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Box Office: +44 (0) 844 249 1000 (call fees apply – check with your provider)
Stage Door: Not Listed
Access Bookings: Call +44 (0) 20 8563 3800
Society of London Theatre also offers useful information for visitors with a disability or specific access need.
Nearest Tube: Hammersmith
Buses: 9, 10, 27, 33, 419, 72, H91, 190, 211, 220, 267, 283, 295 and 391
Check out Transport for London’s excellent TFL Journey Planner
The Eventim Apollo, popularly known as the Hammersmith Apollo, is one of London’s premier live entertainment venues. Located in Hammersmith, West London, it is one of the largest and best-preserved Art Deco theatres in the country.
Opening on the 28th March 1932 as the Gaumont Palace cinema, The Hammersmith Apollo was originally commissioned for the Davis Company who chose renowned architect Robert Cromie for the project. Cromie had designed their massive Davis Cinema in Croydon (1928). Although the scheme was taken over by Gaumont British Theatres chain in 1930 before construction began, Cromie, who also designed the Prince of Wales Theatre and the interiors of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and the Royal Court Theatre, remained as architect. Robert Cromie worked for Bertie Crewe between 1910 and 1914 and so had an excellent training in theatre planning.
Originally seating 3,487, the opening programme featured two films: Tom Walls in A Night Like This and Helen Twelvetrees in Bad Company.
The Apollo has a large 35 foot deep stage, an enormous 192 feet wide fan shaped auditorium and despite its grandeur, a remarkable intimacy and excellent sightlines from all parts of the house. Twenty dressing rooms, a Compton4Manual/15 Ranks theatre organ and a café/restaurant located in the balcony/foyer area all ensured that the theatre would attract not only large audiences, but the biggest and best films and stage productions of the day. The venue operated as a “super cinema” for the majority of its first decades.
On 25 March 1958, Buddy Holly performed two shows at the venue. After the first show, a scuffle with Joe B Mauldin knocked the caps off Holly’s two front teeth; Holly repaired the damage with chewing gum and performed the second show with the gum spread over his front teeth. These were his last ever shows in the United Kingdom.
The Hammersmith Apollo was renamed the Hammersmith Odeon in 1962 and continued hosting many of the biggest stars of the era, including Tony Bennett, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. In late 1964 and early 1965, The Beatles played 38 shows over 21 nights and in 1966, Johnny Cash performed at the venue.
In the 1970s, Jazz legends Dizzy Gellespie and Thelonious Monk appeared here and a star-studded decade followed with performances by David Bowie, Elton John, Queen, Kiss, Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake and Kate Bush, who released a video and vinyl EP of her concerts at the Odeon from her first tour in 1979.
Appearances in the early 1980s included Blondie, Duran Duran, Japan, Elton John, Dire Straits and Pink Floyd. In 1984 the London-based heavy metal band Iron Maiden recorded side 4 of their double live album ‘Live After Death’ at the venue. The same year, Black Metal band Venom was banned from performing here again after ruining the theatre’s ceiling with an impromptu firework display during a show supported by a young Metallica, who would go on to headline just two years later during their Master of Puppets Tour.
1984 also saw the venue screen its last regular film on 8th August with “Blue Thunder” starring Roy Scheider.
Between 15th and 20th December 1986, Norwegian group A-ha (then one of the biggest names in world pop) performed 6 concerts here. The following year, Public Enemy appeared in concert but as a result of trouble outside the venue before and after the show, the Hammersmith Odeon (as it then was) refused to host any rap groups for several years afterwards.
In 1990, the venue was designated a Grade II listed building by English Heritage (upgraded to Grade II* status in 2005). Following a sponsorship deal, it was refurbished and renamed the Labatt’s Apollo. During his 1992 sell out tour, Musical Theatre star Michael Ball was the last person to play the venue when it was named “Odeon” and the first person to play after it was renamed.
During the early 1990s, the venue played host to a number of stage productions, including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and in summer 1992, Erasure played 8 consecutive nights to open their “Phantasmagorical Entertainment Tour“.
In July 1995, Riverdance made its UK debut at the Apollo, selling out its initial four-week run and returning in the autumn for another 19 weeks, breaking box office records in the process. 1998 saw another success with the world premiere of a new Leslie Bricusse musical, Doctor Dolittle, which ran for a year.
2003 saw the venue renamed as the Carling Apollo Hammersmith, after another brewery entered into a sponsorship deal with the then-owners, Clear Channel Entertainment, a US-based company (which then spun off as Live Nation UK). Major alterations enabled the stalls to be removable, allowing for both standing and fully-seated events. Capacity became 5,039 (standing) and 3,632 (seated). The re-opening was marked by rock band AC/DC playing an exclusive one-off concert with all tickets costing just £10. All 5,000 tickets sold out in 4 minutes.
In 2006, the venue reverted to its former name, the Hammersmith Apollo. At the behest of English Heritage and with encouragement by Hammersmith & Fulham Council and the Cinema Theatre Association, the owners reinstated the original Compton organ console which had been removed from the building and put into storage in the 1990s. The organ chambers were retained in the building and with its console connected up again, it was restored to its full glory, with a four-manual console which rises through the stage on a new lift and about 1,200 organ pipes housed in large chambers above the front stalls ceiling. At a launch party, on 25th July 2007, an invited audience and media representatives witnessed a recital by Richard Hills.
The venue changed hands once again in 2007 when it was bought by MAMA Group, a UK based entertainment company who owned a number of music venues and festivals, artist management companies and other music-related businesses.
On 14 January 2009, it was announced that MAMA Group had entered into a joint venture with HMV to jointly run 11 live music venues across the UK, including the Hammersmith Apollo, the Kentish Town Forum, the Jazz cafe and Aberdeen’s Moshulu. Hence, the venue became known as the HMV Hammersmith Apollo.
Within a few years, the legendary music venue changed hands yet again as AEG Live and Eventim teamed up to recreate the venue’s 1932 iconic Art Deco design. Phase one of the refurbishment of the newly-named Eventim Apollo was overseen by award-winning architects Foster Wilson. Work included restoration of fixtures and fittings to original designs and painstaking repair of the ornate plasterwork and historically sensitive decoration to match the original paint scheme. The refurbishment also restored two marble staircases previously concealed beneath the extended stage, as well as restoration of the beautiful original mosaic terrazzo floor in the foyer and beautiful friezes by the artist Newbury Abbott Trent. In the circle the original windows were revealed allowing natural light to once again flood the circle bar.
Following the multi-million pound investment and huge visual transformation, the beautifully restored venue opened as the now rebranded Eventim Apollo. The first public performance under the new rebrand came on 7th September 2013 with a sold-out show by US pop star Selena Gomez.
The Eventim Apollo saw some of the biggest names in live comedy and entertainment grace the stage in the weeks following its reopening including: Billy Joel, Jimmy Carr, Russell Brand, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Sean Lock and Jason Manford.
Many global acts have released live albums and concert recordings from appearances here including Queen, Iron Maiden, Dire Straits, David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen and the list of huge stars appearing here is as diverse as it is endless: Led Zeppelin, Kylie Minogue, Prince, Bob Dylan, Kanye West, Status Quo, Abba, Morrissey, Tori Amos and Kate Bush (who, in 2014 chose to return the venue for a 22 date residency Before The Dawn – her first live performances in 35 years).
The long-running stand-up comedy show Live at the Apollo is filmed here and the Apollo regularly plays host to such significant events as the Eurovision 60th Year Celebration, Royal Variety Performance, and high-profile film premieres.
The venue is owned and operated by Eventim UK and Anschutz Entertainment Group.
Disclaimer: We take care to provide accurate information. Records prior to internet age can be difficult to verify so we only list productions back as far as the year 2000, however we hold some records prior to this date offline. If you would like more information, or are aware of any errors, please contact us here. “One night only” productions and private theatre hires are not listed.
Arthur Lloyd’s Theatre Website offers an encyclopaedic insight into the history of the West End’s theatres.
Theatricalia is a database of past & future theatre productions.
Thisistheatre also offers interesting insights into the history of London’s theatres.
The Theatres Trust offers information and support for our nation’s theatres.