The Apollo Victoria Theatre is situated in Wilton Road, opposite Victoria Station, and close to Buckingham Palace.
It opened in 1930 as the New Victoria Cine-Variety Theatre, a state-of-the-art super cinema, commissioned by Provincial Cinematograph Theatres to accommodate the growing popularity of ‘talking pictures’. The theatre was designed by the architect Ernest Walmsley Lewis along an Art Deco style constructed in concrete and balack marble that still remains to this day. It is unusual insofar that it has two identical entrances, one on Wilton Road facing Victoria mainline station and the other on Vauxhall Bridge Road. It was Grade II listed in 1972. Equipped with a large stage, ten dressing rooms and two suites for use by principle artists, it is one of the largest theatres in London with a capacity of 2,313.
In the decades following its opening, the theatre became known as the New Victoria Cinema, and was renowned as the place to watch film, variety and big band performances. The building closed in 1975 and was reopened in 1981 as the Apollo Victoria Theatre. A concert was scheduled to celebrate the new opening, with Shirley Bassey as a headline act. AC/DC even played the venue in the 80’s.
The Apollo Victoria Theatre was home to a number of musicals including Fiddler on the Roof, The Sound of Music and Camelot, before becoming the venue for the debut performances of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express. The interior of the auditorium was completely redesigned for the production, with race tracks running through the audience and alterations to accommodate a split-level roller-skating rink.
Starlight Express went on to have huge success, playing at the theatre for 18 years before finally closing in 2002 to make way for A.R. Rahman’s Bollywood-inspired Bombay Dreams. This was followed by Saturday Night Fever in 2004 and then Movin’ Out, the Billy Joel musical. Wicked opened in 2006 and has proved hugely successful, still playing to this day.
Apollo Victoria theatre tickets in London:
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