Adelphi Theatre, London
The Adelphi Theatre is in The Strand, adjacent to Charing Cross tube and rail stations in the heart of London’s West End.
The Adelphi first opened its doors to the public in December 1930 and was known initially as the Royal Adelphi Theatre. The ‘Royal’ was dispensed with in 1940. The theatre boasts beautiful Art Deco design by Ernest Schaufelberg. The first show to grace its stage was Benn W. Levy and Lorenz Hart’s musical, Ever Green.
The current Adelphi Theatre is the fourth theatre to be built on the site. The first was called the Sans Pareil, which opened in 1806 and specialised in the presentation of pantomimes and comic opera. The Sans Pareil was sold in 1819 and renamed the Adelphi Theatre, a name which would be retained by all three buildings that would subsequently occupy the site.
During its early years the Adelphi established a reputation for staging melodramas, which came to be known as ‘Adelphi Screamers.’ A number of Charles Dickens works were also adapted for the stage here.
In its second incarnation, the Adelphi became the scene of a notorious crime. On 16 December 1897 actor William Terriss was murdered during the run of the play Secret Service. While entering the theatre by the royal entrance, he was stabbed to death.
Among the most notable of the countless shows to have graced this venerable West End theatre’s stage during its long history are The Bloomsbury Christening, My Fair Lady, The Jungle Book and Chicago.
The layout, size and atmosphere of the Adelphi Theatre make it the perfect place to see large scale musicals and plays. Recent successes include Evita, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Derren Brown: Enigma, The Rat Pack, Love Never Dies, One Man, Two Guvnors and Sweeney Todd.
Whatever you decide to see at the Adelphi Theatre, we wish you an entertaining and rewarding visit.
Nearest Tube Station:
Directions From Tube:
(3mins) Head out onto the main road Strand. Cross the street where possible and go right (approx. 150 metres). The theatre is on your left.
(Strand) 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 23, 87, 91, 139, 176
Night Bus Numbers:
(Strand) 23, 139, 176, N6, N9, N11, N13, N15, N21, N26, N44, N47, N87, N89, N91, N155, N343, N551
Nearest Rail Station:
Nearest Car Park:
St Martin's Lane Hotel (4mins)
409-412 Strand, London, WC2R 0NS
The first theatre on this site in 1806 was thanks to young passionate actress Jane Scott who pestered her father John Scott to invest in one for her. She took advantage and in its early years starred in and wrote almost all of the productions. Being a proud father, Scott named it the ‘Sans Pareil’ theatre (‘Without Compare’), although ironically it wasn’t very comfortable. One mid-19thcentury writer described it as the “most inconvenient theatre that ever was entered…to every sense of bodily comfort”. Nonetheless, it filled its seats and notably staged many Charles Dickens adaptations including The Pickwick Papers and A Christmas Carol. After 52 years of wear and tear, it was revamped for a bigger capacity of 1,500 people.
This second incarnation lasted 50 years before another makeover in 1901, remaining only until 1930 when the theatre was fixed up yet again into the Art Deco design we see today (that’s a total of four different buildings in 125 years!). Described as having “a complete absence of curves”, the Adelphi hosted a number of long-running hits such as Charlie Girl (2,202 performances), Sondheim’s A Little Night Music (406 performances) and Me and My Girl (3,303 performances). It was threatened with closure in 1968 from a proposed Covent Garden extension, but was luckily untouched after a survival campaign.
Lovingly restored and bought by Andrew Lloyd Webber in 1993, the Adelphi has since staged several of his musicals including Sunset Boulevard, Joseph, Evita and Love Never Dies. It was also the location where the Cats video was filmed, and hosted Chicago for the first eight years of its run.
The ghost of actor William Terris is believed to haunt the Adelphi; he was murdered by a jealous rival in 1897, and his last words were eerily “I’ll be back”. Eat your heart out, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The theatre is owned by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group, and he staged his Phantom of the Opera sequel Love Never Dies there, as well as the Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat revival.
The Adelphi has been called six different names in its 200 year plus history: Sans Pareil, Theatre Royal New Adelphi, Royal Adelphi, Theatre Royal Adelphi, Century Theatre and, of course, the Adelphi.
‘Adelphi’ is the Greek word for ‘brothers’.
Make the most of your trip on the town with a delicious meal before the show. Check out our top recommendations below. All these restaurants are just a stone’s throw away from your theatre. So you can relax before enjoying a slice of world class entertainment. Simply add your theatre tickets to your basket and select the restaurant of your choice.