While boasting its majestic presence sprawling over a century, Queen’s Theatre London has been witnessed to many remarkable incidents of the history. It was built in a period when theatres have evolved as one of the prime modes of entertainment in London. There were many classic one already in existence and few more were added up to share the increasing burden. There were many trends associated with the theatres those days and while being built up, the Queen’s Theatre also became a part of some of them.
One such tradition was to get the structured built as twins or pair; the notable theatre architect W.G.R. Sprague had attained a mastery over the art. Having built Novello and the Aldwych towards the beginning of nineteenth century, he has proven the excellence of his calibre to the world. When it was decided to built the Queen’s as a pair to the Hicks, Sprague was the most obvious choice for the designs. The venues stills stand today, though differing in looks now, neighbouring each other, while Hicks has been named as the Gielgud, Queen’s still bear the same name.
As it was followed by most of the edifices built those days, the venue was also named after the ruling monarch of Britain. Its owners those days have thought of naming it as the Central Theater, but the plans were later abandoned following a long discussion. Queen Alexandria was the then Queen of Britain and the structure was named after her while a portrait of her was hanged on its foyer. However, unlike many of them, it didn’t undergo many name changes and has been known with the same one since it was first inaugurated on 8th October 1907.
It was badly damaged when a German bomb landed on it on one ill-fated day in September 1940. The incident left the foyer and lobby areas completely destroyed. It was then home to Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca that starred Celia Johnson, Owen Nares and Margaret Rutherford. The house was closed for coming two decades following the attack and was restored after spending a sum of £250,000. Today it has been Grade II listed by the English Heritage and is a West End Theater located in the Shaftesbury Avenue, in the City of Westminster, London.
The house attained many milestones in the recent years while staging performances of Les Miserables. This Victor Hugo’s classic debuted here in 2004 following eighteen years of its glorious run at The Palace Theater, where it made its London debut. The theater’s auditorium has remained jam-packed with theatregoers ever since the musical’s first performance was hosted here. In 2010, it attained the landmark figure of 10,000 performances and in the same year its 25th anniversary was hosted with three productions simultaneously staged in London.
The show transports audiences to the nineteenth century France, where the entire nation is engulfed in a revolution to overthrow anarchy. The piece revolves around an ex-convict Jean Valjean and portrays emotions like passion, redemption, unrequited love and self-destruction. This Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg is currently continuing its record breaking run as World’s longest running musical.