Garrick Theatre

Next Show: Death Drop
First preview: 3rd December 2020
Booking until: 11th July 2021 (Resumes 19th May 2021)
Running time: Awaiting information

Address: 2 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0HH


Air Conditioning: Yes

Current Owner: Nimax Theatres

General booking

Visit the Garrick Theatre website.

Box Office: +44 (0) 330 333 4811

Discounts, Day seats, Rush tickets & Lotteries

Awaiting information.

Box Office: +44 (0) 330 333 4811

Stage Door: +44 (0) 20 7520 5690


Access Bookings: Call +44 (0) 330 333 4815


Society of London Theatre also offers useful information for visitors with a disability or specific access need.

Nearest Tube: Leicester Square or Charing Cross

Buses: Number 3, 6, 9, 12, 13, 15, 24, 29, 30

Check out Transport for London’s excellent TFL Journey Planner

Luxury: St Martin’s Lane Hotel, 45 St Martin’s Lane, London WC2N 4HX

Mid: Radisson Blu Edwardian, 31-36 Leicester Square, London, WC2H 7LH

Budget: Hub by Premier Inn, 110 St Martins Lane, London WC2N 4BA

The Garrick Theatre (not to be confused with an earlier Garrick Theatre in Leman St, Whitechapel) is named after English actor, playwright and theatre manager David Garrick and first opened on Wednesday 24th April 1889 on Charing Cross Road with A W Pinero’s play The Profligate. The theatre was designed by architect Walter Emden with subsequent modifications by C J Phipps for W S Gilbert (of Gilbert & Sullivan fame) and was built by Messrs Peto Brothers. Some speculation exists that the relationship between Emden and Phipps may not have been entirely amicable, but this is hardly surprising bearing in mind the complicated nature of the project. Construction was delayed by the discovery of an old river which had existed since Roman times but had been covered over for several hundred years, leading to Phipps’ amendments to Emden’s original design.

The 140 foot frontage was constructed entirely from Portland Stone and Bath Stone. Inside, the subterranean design meant that the Dress Circle could be accessed directly from street level. Original interiors designed by Heighway, Kusel and Depree welcomed patrons with polished walnut and marble in the Italian Renaissance style and the auditorium was furnished in white, cherry and gold by Messrs Gregory. The auditorium extended to four levels, Stalls/Pit Stalls, Dress Circle, Upper Circle and Gallery and accommodated 1500 patrons (quite where they would all have fitted is a mystery) although this was reduced to around 1250 in 1912. Capacity was reduced still further with the closure of the Gallery benches in the middle of the 20th Century and today the theatre holds closer to 730 – half the original capacity. Stalls and pit patrons were treated to an unusually high level of in-seat luxury including space for a stick or umbrella, space to hang an overcoat or a shawl and store programmes and even a box for top hats!

Lit by electricity, there was a supplemental gas backup in the event of any loss of power (which was not uncommon in the early days of electrical supply) and a heating and hot water system ensured that the auditorium was comfortable for patrons at all times.

The Garrick’s design was praised for its consideration of egress, with multiple exits on each level, its good ventilation and fire safety features. Most pleasantly surprising to its first audiences was the generous number of toilets – something still highly prized by theatregoers today. Dressing rooms were housed in separate block and featured hot and cold water and baths – luxuries virtually unknown to actors before the late 19thCentury.

The Theatre’s first manager was John Hare who also starred in several early productions including as Lord Dangars in The Profligate. Another early success, also a Pinero play, was The Notorious Mrs Ebbsmith, again starring Hare.

In 1900, actor/manager Arthur Bourchier took over the lease and went on to stage many notable productions, including W S Gilbert’s The Fairy’s Dilemma (originally titled Harlequin and the Fairy’s Dilemma). Often starring in productions himself alongside his wife, actress Violet Vanbrugh, Bourchier’s initial tenure lasted for six years, but he would return again in 1912 to run the Garrick for a further two years. Bourchier’s ghost is still said to haunt the theatre, tapping the unsuspecting on the back to remind them that he’s still around.

In 1921, Basil Rathbone appeared here as Dr Lawson in The Edge o’ Beyond and the decade also featured Sir Seymour Hicks, one of the Edwardian era’s biggest stars, starring in his own play, The Man in Dress Clothes.

In the 1934, The Garrick narrowly escaped conversion to a Super Cinema, but was reprieved and a year later, Wendy Hiller starred in Love on the Dole – a play which would be voted one of the 20th Century’s most important plays by the National Theatre.

At the outbreak of WWII, the Theatre was considered for use as a “Forces Theatre” but the idea was soon abandoned and the Garrick closed, re-opening in September 1941 with a play called “Room V”.

In 1960, the Theatre was granted Grade II* listed status by English Heritage, but by 1968, the Garrick once again faced an existentialist threat along with the VaudevilleAdelphiLyceum, and Duchess Theatres when the GLC proposed a complete redevelopment of Covent Garden. A campaign was mounted by Equity, the Musicians Union and Theatre owners under the banner of Save London’s Theatres Campaign (SLTC) and eventually the plans were abandoned.

In the late 1970s, Ira Levin’s Deathtrap enjoyed a successful run of over two years, with a cast including Victor Garber and Marian Hall Seldes, winner of the Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Whilst its early years had been dominated by melodramas, by the 1980s, The Garrick would become best known for comedies, most notably the farce No Sex Please We’re British which ran here for four years from 1982-1986 after transferring from the Strand Theatre (now the Novello Theatre), later moving on to the Duchess Theatre. In 1986, Stoll Moss group acquired the Garrick.

In 1995, the National Theatre’s award-winning production of J B Priestley’s An Inspector Calls transferred here from the Aldwych Theatre, going on to become the longest running production at the Garrick – a record it still holds. During the run, work was carried out to return the façade of the building to its full original glory – the entrance canopy having been altered in the post-war period.

In 2000, ownership transferred to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group and Bridgepoint Capital as part of their acquisition of Stoll Moss Theatres Ltd.

In 2005, the Garrick changed hands again, this time becoming part of Nimax Theatres, along with the Lyric, Apollo, Vaudeville and Duchess Theatres. The same year, Kwame Kwei-Armah, current director of the Young Vic, joined the cast of Elmina’s Kitchen which opened here after a successful run at the National Theatre two years earlier. The play, written by Kwei-Armah, offered a sometimes violent look at life for an ex-boxer desperate to keep his son away from the lure of Hackney’s ‘murder mile’.

In 2015, work to improve the theatre began with a new stage lift was installed, the stage door widened and work carried out to reconfigure the stalls bar and to restore the auditorium to its original glory. Discussions around re-opening the Victorian balcony began, but to date are still ongoing. In October of the same year, Kenneth Branagh’s Theatre Company began a 12 month residency, with six productions bringing some of the British Theatre’s biggest to the Garrick stage including Dame Judi Dench, Zoë Wanamaker, Adrian Lester and Branagh himself.

In 2020, another stellar cast lined up for the long-overdue transfer of the Donmar Warehouse production of Cy Coleman’s City of Angels but the show hadn’t even made it through previews before the West End was brought to a juddering halt by Covid-19.

Audiences note: Not only does the Garrick sit on the site of an ancient river, it is also just above the tunnels for trains using the Northern Line and it’s quite usual to hear the rumble of trains below whilst enjoying a performance.

The theatre is owned and operated by Nimax Theatres.

  • City of Angels
  • Frank Skinner: Showbiz
  • Noises Off
  • Brainicac Live!
  • Bitter Wheat
  • Rip it Up
  • Don Quixote
  • Young Frankenstein
  • Horrible Histories – EVEN MORE Best of Barmy Britain
  • Gangsta Granny
  • Tape Face
  • The Miser
  • This House
  • The Entertainer
  • Romeo & Juliet
  • The Painkiller
  • Red Velvet
  • Harlequinade (with All On My Own)
  • The Winter’s Tale
  • Horrible Histories – Barmy Britain Part 3
  • Let It Be
  • Horrible Histories – Barmy Britain Part 2
  • The Scottsboro Boys
  • Horrible Histories – Barmy Britain Part 2
  • Let It Be
  • Twelve Angry Men
  • Horrible Histories – Barmy Britain Part 2
  • Horrible Histories – Barmy Britain Part 1
  • Potted Potter
  • Rock of Ages
  • Horrible Histories – Barmy Britain Part 1
  • Loserville
  • Horrible Histories – Barmy Britain Part 1
  • The Sooty Christmas Show
  • Chicago
  • The Go! Go! Go! Show
  • Micky Flanagan
  • Respect La Diva
  • Potted Potter
  • The Go! Go! Go! Show
  • Pygmalion
  • The Hurly Burly Show
  • The Gruffalo
  • When We Are Married
  • Room on the Broom
  • All the Fun of the Fair
  • The Little Dog Laughed
  • Arturo Brachetti: Change
  • The Mysteries – Yiimimangaliso
  • A Little Night Music
  • Zorro The Musical
  • Treats
  • Bad Girls: The Musical
  • Absurd Person Singular
  • Peter Pan El Musical
  • Derren Brown Mind Reader – An Evening of Wonders 2008
  • Amy’s View
  • One Man Star Wars Trilogy
  • Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell
  • One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
  • You Never Can Tell
  • On the Ceiling
  • Elmina’s Kitchen
  • The Anniversary
  • Solid Gold Cadillac
  • Oleanna
  • Wait Until Dark
  • Ross Noble: Unrealtime 2003
  • Jus’ Like That!
  • This Is Our Youth
  • The Lieutenant of Inishmore
  • This Is Our Youth
  • Dangerous Corner
  • Feelgood
  • An Inspector Calls

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.

London Theatres by Michael Coveney & Peter Dazeley, is available from Waterstones and Amazon and provides stunning photography and commentary on London’s iconic theatres.