Victoria Palace Theatre, London
Atop the Victoria Palace, a golden Anna Pavlova stays fixed in a perfect ballet stance. Inside, the blush-coloured auditorium with gold and marble detailing is crowned by a wheel-like dome in the lofty 1500-seat theatre that suits large-scale musical productions extremely well.
Nearest Tube Station:
District, Circle, Victoria
Directions From Tube:
(2mins) The theatre is on the Wilton Road bend and can be seen from the station.
(Victoria Street) 11, 24, 44, 52, 148, 211, 436, 507, C1; (Victoria Station) 2, 16, 36, 38, 73, 82, 170, 185, C2, C10
Night Bus Numbers:
(Victoria Street) 24, 148, N2, N11, N16, N44, N52, N136; (Victoria Station) 36, N38, N73, C2
Nearest Rail Station:
Nearest Car Park:
Semley Place (12mins)
Victoria Palace Theatre
Victoria Street, London, SW1E 5EA
This busy Victoria location once contained a small hotel that just so happened to obtain a performance licence in 1840, turning overnight into a music hall. It became such a sensation that ‘The Royal Standard Music Hall’ was enlarged in the 1880s to accommodate the surge in visitors, partially because of Victoria’s new reputation as a transport hotspot. After earning its reputation as a continuous music hall for nearly 70 years, it was knocked down to make way for the elaborate Victoria Palace Theatre.
This 1910 structure was erected with the price tag of £12,000 (that’s £1 million today) on a newly enlarged site. Its value was knocked up a few more pegs by the golden statue of Anna Pavlova that adorned the tip of the dome, and its tradition of variety and music hall performances continued all the way into the 1930s, when the musical Me and My Girl settled for a comfortable two year run.
Variety was still what the Victoria Palace Theatre championed through to the ‘60s, but it became most famous for staging the BBC Black and White Minstrel Show until 1972, an immensely popular TV show but, in retrospect, a national embarrassment that used blackface and portrayed stereotyped black characters performing American Country and Western music.
Its modern day biggest hits have been Buddy, which ran 1989-1995 before transferring to the Novello Theatre, and the current Elton John-composed sell-out sensation Billy Elliot The Musical, for which a refurbishment was carried out in its honour in 2005 before it moved in.
Victoria Palace plays host to a rather unusual haunting – flying wigs! Indeed, the wig room has seen some odd activity, including doors that lock and unlock by themselves – but maybe forgetful staff or practical jokers are responsible for that one. The flying wigs on the other hand remain a mystery.
The statue adorning the top of the dome of Victoria Palace is that of ballerina Anna Pavlova, and it has a unique history of its own. Placed there in 1911, it was removed during the Blitz in 1939 for safety reasons, but never found again. It was replaced only in 2006 by a gilded replica, which is the one seen there today.
The theatre hosted a then-record-breaking run of Me and My Girl from 1937 to 1939, which amassed more than 1,000 performances. Its run was interrupted by World War II, before it continued in 1944.
Elizabeth Taylor made her London stage debut at the Victoria Palace Theatre in 1982 with the play The Little Foxes.
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.