Apollo Theatre

History of the Apollo Theatre

The Apollo Theatre, named after the Greek God of Art, Music and Poetry, opened its doors for the first time in 1901. It has 775 seats arranged with one stalls area and three balconies with the 3rd balcony having the steepest rake in the West End.

It is a Grade II listed building designed by theatre architect Lewin Sharp. Due to the death of Queen Victoria a few months before the theatre became the first to be completed in the Edwardian era.

The Apollo was designed specifically as a musical theatre venue and therefore opened with a spate of musical comedies such as Kitty Grey (1901) and Veronique (1904). Tom Jones was produced here (1908) and Hobson’s Choice (1916). In 1928 Sir Laurence Olivier starred in RC Sherriff’s classic wartime anthem for doomed youth, Journey’s End.

Since then many of Britain’s writing greats have since had their work staged at the Apollo including Ivor Novello, Terence Rattigan and Noel Coward.

The longest running production to have taken place in the theatre was called Boeing Boeing which ran for four years before transferring to the Duchess Theatre in 1965.

The cream of British acting talent has also appeared on stage at the Apollo. Peter O’Toole famously starred in Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell (1989). Penelope Wilton starred in The Deep Blue Sea (1993). James McAvoy appeared in Three Days of Rain (2009). Mark Rylance starred in Richard III (2012).

Recently the Apollo suffered a major disaster when a section of the ornate plasterwork of the ceiling gave way and collapsed on unfortunate members of the stalls audience during a production of the hit play The Curious Incident of a Dog in the Night Time.

Over 58 people were taken to hospital in an accident which prompted a major overhaul of West End theatres safety procedures and checks to ensure the on-going ability of these grand old auditoriums to house some of the finest dramatic works in the world today.

Travel Details

You can find the Apollo Theatre on Shaftsbury Avenue right in the heart of the West End. The theatre can be accessed by Leicester Square, Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus tube stations. It is also serviced by many bus routes, plus rail links via Charing Cross Station on the Strand.

The theatre is on main bus routes that run down Shaftsbury Avenue, around Piccadilly Circus and Charing Cross Road including 14,19, 22B, 38,53,88,94,159.

It is within the Congestion Charge Zone (7am until 6pm). The nearest car parks are Denman St and Brewer Street Car Park and Masterpark - Chinatown, Newport Place.

If you use the Q-Park scheme in conjunction with London theatres you could get a reduction of up to 50% on parking in the West End. Nearest participating car park can be found in Poland St, Soho.

Piccadilly Tube 0.2 miles 1 minute walk
Leicester Square Tube 0.3 miles 6 minute walk
Oxford Circus Tube 0.5 miles 10 minute walk
Charing Cross Tube and Mainline Station 0.6 miles 12 minutes

The Apollo Theatre
Shaftesbury Ave, London W1D 7ES

Apollo Theatre Seating Information

The Apollo Theatre is situated on the famous Shaftsbury Avenue near Piccadilly Circus in the heart of London’s West End. The theatre has a capacity of 775 seats all offering different viewing experiences for varying budgets. Please call our helpline for further details regarding the seating plan on 020 7087 2920.

Disabled access

The Apollo Theatre is split into four sections: the Stalls, Dress Circle, Upper Circle and Balcony which is considered to be the steepest in London:

  • 313 in the Stalls
  • 167 in the Dress Circle
  • 141 in the Upper Circle
  • 134 in the Balcony
  • 20 in Boxes

The only section that can be reached without the use of stairs is the Stalls which has access to a platform lift. An adapted toilet can be found in the Stalls section of the theatre and seating spaces are available in the stalls for wheelchair users. Although the bars at the theatre can only be accessed by the stairs, the management are happy to bring drinks to all disabled theatre goers.

Please note:

  • An induction loop and infra-red system is available
  • A maximum of 2 guide dogs are permitted inside the auditorium
  • Braille, large print and tape formats can be provided upon request
  • Blue Badge parking arrangements can be sourced through the local Westminster authority
  • Signed events, audio-described tours and touch tours are all available

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Specials Offers

To take advantage of these Special Offers, please call us on 020 7494 2301 or visit our box office for more details.

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