The Vaudeville Theatre is a well-known West End theatre located in the City of Westminster. Just like its name, the venue mostly staged musical revues, and vaudeville shows back in the day.
First opened in 1870, C. J. Phipps designed the theatre like several others in London, while George Gordon decorated it. They celebrated the grand opening with For Love Or Money, which was a comedy by Andrew Halliday, along with a famous burlesque called Don Carlos.
In 1926, the present theatre building opened. Nimax Theatres Limited owns the 690-seat venue. The theatre is just as magnificent looking inside as it is outside. It has a rectangular shape and elaborate decorations with gold patterns. It highlights an elegant burgundy ceiling with a Georgian touch.
The 1870 frontage of the present structure was originally two simple house fronts and didn't look close to being as attractive as it does now. The owners chose to invest in a better façade two decades later. They also improved the interior of the building. They included a fresh new ceiling while decreasing the tightly set up 1,000 seats to a more spacious 740. However, the Gatti family bought the theatre only a year later.
The Gatti family owned the Vaudeville for a spectacular 77 years and, under their ownership, showed popular revues and comedies. The family made more changes – the old horseshoe-shaped interior changing to a rectangular shape in 1925. The modification also involved reducing the seating capacity by another 100.
In 1968, the Vaudeville Theatre along with several other nearby venues like the Duchess Theatre, Lyceum Theatre, Garrick Theatre and Adelphi Theatre faced a threat when the GLC decided to refurbish them. However, the Musicians' Union, the actors' union Equity, and the owners of the buildings set up the powerful "Save London Theatre Campaign". Thankfully, the campaign shut down the project for good, saving the theatres in the process.
The Gatti family finally sold the theatre in 1969. Bought by Sir Peter Saunders, Peter Rice took up the task of fully renovating the venue's interior in 1970. Two years later, the English Heritage designated the theatre as a Grade II building. Max Weitzenhoffer bought the building in 2003, and in 2005, Nimax Theatres Limited purchased it.
The Vaudeville Theatre has staged numerous shows to date. In the 1950s, the smash-hit musical "Salad Days" began playing at the theatre, putting up 2,288 performances! Later, there was a 1996 revival starring Kit And The Widow, followed by She Knows You by Jean Fergusson, which received a Laurence Olivier Award nomination in 1998. In the same year, Kat And The Kings bagged the Olivier awards for Best Actor in a Musical and Best New Musical. Another long-running show was Caught In The Net, a Ray Cooney farce running for ten months in 2001.