Garrick Theatre History and Timeline

Critics praised the venue

Critics praised the venue

1889-04-26

The Stage published a glowing review of the Garrick Theatre two days after it opened, saying that the new theatre was already a 'classic'.

The Garrick Theatre was built

The Garrick Theatre was built

1889-03-01

The Garrick Theatre was built in the 1880s by Messrs Peto, designed by Walter Emden and C. J. Phipps, and funded by playwright W. S. Gilbert - the author of the Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas. The build was difficult, however. They discovered an ancient Roman river flowing underneath the building site, which had been buried as London became more populated in the 15th Century. They finally found a way to divert the river underneath the theatre without compromising its structure.

The theatre opened with 'The Profilgate' by A. W. Pinero

The theatre opened with 'The Profilgate' by A. W. Pinero

1889-04-24

The Garrick Theatre opened on the 24th April 1889 with a performance of 'The Profligate' by A. W. Pinero. Johnstone Forbes Robertson and Lewis Walter starred in the production and it was an all round success with the critics.

The Walls of Jericho by Alfred Sutro

The Walls of Jericho by Alfred Sutro

1905-05-08

The Walls of Jericho', a four act play by Alfred Sutro, ran at the Garrick Theatre for nearly a year.

The theatre seating was reduced

The theatre seating was reduced

1912-02-08

The theatre was built on four levels; the Stalls, Dress Circle, Upper Circle, and Gallery, instead of the usual three levels. When it opened it boasted 1500 seats, but by 1912 the theatre said it could only realistically manage 1250. Two of the exclusive Circle Boxes were taken out to reduce audience numbers and access to the Gallery was blocked. There is still bench seating on Gallery level but it is no longer used by the public. The current audience capacity is now a much smaller 718.

It was turned into a Forces Theatre

It was turned into a Forces Theatre

1935-04-05

Many West End theatres were transformed into entertainment venues for the Armed Forces during World War II. The Garrick failed against other more successful Forces venues, such as the Fortune, and was subsequently closed down. It remained closed until September 1941, when it reopened with the play 'Room V'.

The theatre had many successful productions

The theatre had many successful productions

1959-07-10

Following World War II the theatre hosted many successful productions with starring actors including Margaret Rutherford and Peggy Mount, Sheila Hancock.

Deathtrap by Era Levin

Deathtrap by Era Levin

1978-08-09

Era Levin's play 'Deathtrap' still holds the title of the longest running comedy-thriller on Broadway. The West End version played at the Garrick Theatre for three years and was a huge success. In 1982 it was adapted into a popular film starring Michael Caine, Dyan Cannon and Christopher Reeve.

No Sex Please, We're British

No Sex Please, We're British

1982-08-20

No Sex Please, We're British', the hugely popular farce by Alistair Foot and Anthony Marriott, had its first performance on the West End in 1971. It ran until 1987 at three West End theatres, the Strand, the Duchess and the Garrick.

Acquired by Stoll Moss

Acquired by Stoll Moss

1986-03-02

The Stoll Moss Group, formed by Sir Edward Moss, Richard Thornton and Sir Oswald Stoll, took over the Garrick in 1986. The Stoll Moss Group owned the largest chain of variety theatres and music halls in Britain in the first half of the 19th Century. They were originally called Moss Empires, possibly from their ownership of the old Empire Theatre of Varities on Leicester Square.

Mr and Mrs Nobody

Mr and Mrs Nobody

1986-08-20

Judi Dench and Michael Williams starred in 'Mr and Mrs Nobody' by Keith Waterhouse.

The Garrick underwent two restorations

The Garrick underwent two restorations

1989-06-11

In 1989, exactly 100 years after it was built, the theatre's interior had a major face lift courtesy of the stage designer Carl Toms. It was primarily to restore the damaged gold leaf on the decorative cherubs and to update some of the fading paintwork. In 1997 the theatre façade was renovated to restore the Garrick to its former glory. The theatre now looks much as it did when it was first built in 1889.

The theatre was bought by the Really Useful Group

The theatre was bought by the Really Useful Group

2000-01-01

Andrew Lloyd Webber's international company the Really Useful Group bought the Garrick Theatre in 2000.

Ricky Gervais 'Politics'

Ricky Gervais 'Politics'

2004-08-06

Ricky Gervais workshopped his stand up comedy show 'Politics' at the Garrick Theatre in 2004. The final show was recorded and released on DVD.

The Garrick was bought by Nimax

The Garrick was bought by Nimax

2005-05-06

Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer bought the Garrick Theatre in 2005 and added it to the Nimax portfolio of theatres.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

2006-03-02

The stage version of 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' was adapted by Dale Wasserman from Ken Kesey's popular 1962 novel. The story is set in a psychiatric hospital in Oregon and critiques the American health system during the 1950s and 1960s. Christian Slater and Alex Kingston starred in the production at the Garrick.

Bille Piper in 'Treats, Bad Girls: The Musical'

Bille Piper in 'Treats, Bad Girls: The Musical'

2007-06-29

In 2007 Billie Piper made her stage debut at the Garrick in a production of Christopher Hampton’s Treats, Bad Girls: The Musical. She performed alongside Laurence Fox, who she subsequently married in December of the same year.

Zorro

Zorro

2008-07-15

Zorro' The Musical had music from the Gipsy Kings and James Cameron. It opened at the Congress Theatre in Eastbourne before moving to the Garrick for it's West End run. The show was due to open at the start of July but the production team encountered some technical problems, so the opening was postponed until the 15th July. It starred Matt Rawle, Emma Williams and Adam Levy.

A Little Night Music

A Little Night Music

2009-04-15

Trevor Nunn revives the Stephen Sondheim classic 'A Little Night Music', starring Alexander Hanson, Hannah Waddingham and Maureen Lipman. The show features the classic number 'Send in the Clowns'.

Pygmalion

Pygmalion

2011-07-03

George Bernard Shaw's 'Pygmalion' played at the Garrick for three months after transferring from the Chichester Theatre. The play tells the story of Henry Higgins and the Cockney flower seller Eliza Doolittle; people are perhaps more familiar with the musical version of the play, 'My Fair Lady'. This production had an all star cast of Rupert Everett, Dame Diana Rigg, Simon Ward, Kara Tointon and Peter Eyre.

The Hurly Burly Show

The Hurly Burly Show

2011-03-03

Miss Polly Rae and her six Hurly Burly Girlys performed a 'contemporary burlesque revue'. It was a night of singing, dancing, burlesque and bawdy cabaret.

Chicago ends its run at the Garrick

Chicago ends its run at the Garrick

2012-01-01

The jazz musical 'Chicago' finished its 15 year run at the Garrick Theatre after transferring from the Cambridge Theatre. The show starred America Ferrera, known for her role as Betty in the hit TV series 'Ugly Betty'.

Loserville

Loserville

2012-10-06

Elliot Davis and James Bourne's new 'Loserville' premiered at the Garrick in 2012, starring Aaron Sidwell and Lil Chris.

Rock of Ages

Rock of Ages

2013-01-05

The musical 'Rock of Ages' transferred from the Shaftesbury Theatre, starring Justin Lee Collins and Shayne Ward

Twelve Angry Men

Twelve Angry Men

2013-11-17

Martin Shaw and Robert Vaughn starred in 'Twelve Angry Men' from November 2013 to June 2014

Let It Be

Let It Be

2014-07-09

Let It Be', the jukebox musical charting the Beatles' rise to worldwide success, returned to the West End in July 2014.

The Scottsboro Boys

The Scottsboro Boys

2014-10-04

The Scottsboro Boys' enjoyed a sell out run at The Young Vic and is now transferring to the Garrick Theatre in autumn 2014. The production is based on the true story of nine African American teenagers in 1930s Alabama, whose court case changed the way that black citizens were trialled in the US. The musical was nominated for 6 Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical. It's also the last production of the composing duo Kander and Ebb, behind 'Chicago' and 'Cabaret', and is directed by Susan Stroman ('The Producers').

Let it Be

Let it Be

2015-02-28

Let it Be has had a long life on the West End and it returns once again to the Garrick Theatre in February 2015.

Red Velvet Opens

Red Velvet Opens

2016-01-23

Written by Lolita Chakrabarti, Red Velvet joins the Kenneth Branagh season of Plays at the Garrick. Starring British actor Adrian Lester, the play follows the story of African American actor Ira Aldridge as he takes over the part of Othello at a time when the abolition of slavery is being protested.

The Winter's Tale Opens

The Winter's Tale Opens

2015-10-17

Kenneth Branagh kicks off his newly formed company’s inaugural season at the Garrick theatre with Shakespare's The Winter’s Tale starring himself as Leontes and Judi Dench as Paulina. Part tragedy, part comedy the play tells the story of a jealous King who makes a terrible mistake. The production is co-directed by Branagh and Rob Ashford.

Potted Panto opens

Potted Panto opens

2016-12-10

The ever enjoyable Potted Panto production returns to the West End, cramming seven pantomimes into one whirlwind performance. This production featured 3D projections of beloved pantomime characters, brought to the stage by CBBC presenters Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner.

The Miser opens

The Miser opens

2017-03-01

Griff Rhys Jones stars in Molière's great comedy, adapted for the stage by Sean Foley and Phil Porter. The hilarious play focuses on a character called Harpagon, whose mission is to prevent everyone from getting their hands on his money.

This House opens

This House opens

2016-11-19

Following great success at the National Theatre, This House gets a long-awaited West End transfer to the Garrick Theatre. This political drama was written by James Graham, and focuses on the heated debates and conflict that take place behind the scenes in Parliament.

Gangsta Granny sneaks into the Garrick Theatre

Gangsta Granny sneaks into the Garrick Theatre

2017-08-01

David Walliams' popular children's book receives a mesmerising stage adaptation at the Garrick Theatre. After a successful UK tour, the hilariously fun story follows a a groovy Granny with a very big secret!

Horrible Histories returns to the West End

Horrible Histories returns to the West End

2017-08-04

Following several successful West End seasons, Birmingham Stage Company's hit stage adaptations of Terry Deary's popular series Horrible Histories return once more to the West End. Playing a limited season at the Garrick Theatre, Horrible Histories - More Best of Barmy Britain is sure to be wildly entertaining!

Tape Face entertains audiences at the Garrick

Tape Face entertains audiences at the Garrick

2017-06-06

Quirky comedian Tape Face comes to the Garrick Theatre London for a limited summer season. Heralded as a modern-day Charlie Chaplin, Tape Face is the enigmatic creation from Sam Wills, who has performed across the world, including Las Vegas and the Royal Variety Performance.

Young Frankenstein comes to life at the Garrick

Young Frankenstein comes to life at the Garrick

2017-09-28

Mel Brooks' musical comedy comes to life in the West End, making its London debut at the Garrick Theatre. Co-written by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan, the hilarious musical sees the infamous Frankenstein's grandson continue the family legacy.

Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain Part 3 opens

Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain Part 3 opens

2015-07-25

Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain Part 3 made its West End premiere in summer 2015, and presented the wackiest moments of British history with all the nasty bits left in. Written by Terry Deary and Neal Foster, the show features sketches about King John, the Magna Carta, the Great Fire of London and Admiral Nelson.

Harlequinade Opens

Harlequinade Opens

2015-10-24

Kenneth Branagh revives Terence Rattigan’s comedy Harliquinade to play in rep with The Winter’s Tale at the Garrick from October 2015. This rarely performed farce funnily enough concerns a theatre company attempting to put on a disastrous production of The Winter’s Tale. This production co-directed by Rob Ashford will also star Branagh.

Romeo and Juliet Opens

Romeo and Juliet Opens

2016-05-12

Kenneth Branagh directs the stars of his recent Disney Cinderella blockbuster Lily James (Downton Abbey) and Richard Madden (Game of Thrones) in Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy. In a break from traditional casting this production will also star veteran actor Derek Jacobi in the role of Romeo’s friend Mercutio. The play tells the story of forbidden love across the divide of two warring families.

The Entertainer Opens

The Entertainer Opens

2016-08-20

Kenneth Branagh stars as Archie Rice in a revival of John Osbourne’s classic The Entertainer directed by Rob Ashford. This story of a washed up musical hall performer marks the final show in Branagh’s newly formed company’s inaugural season of work at the Garrick theatre.

The Painkiller Opens

The Painkiller Opens

2016-03-05

Kenneth Branagh brings his production of The Painkiller, previously seen in Belfast, starring himself and Rob Brydon to the Garrick theatre as part of a new season of work. Sean Foley is the adapter and director of this production of Francis Veber’s classic French farce. This dark comedy tells the story of two very different men in adjoining hotel rooms one a killer and the other looking to end his life.