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The History Of London Palladium

The History Of London Palladium

This is one of the many resources we have provided to give your time in London at the theatre that extra bit of shine.  Hopefully by absorbing the information here you will get a greater idea of theatre position in the city’s history, making your visit that bit more special by an appreciation of context.


The capital’s famous West End is a treasure trove of historical interest, and the theatres that stand there, like London Palladium, Lyceum Theatre, Apollo Victoria etc. have witnessed many important world events.  The show you are planning on seeing is part of this rich tapestry that has existed for many years, and so it is important to have a bit of understanding about it before you go.

Seating more than two thousand, the London Palladium is one of the most distinguished and prestigious of all of London’s theatres.  It was built in the early years of the 20th century by the architect Frank Matcham, as commissioned by Walter Gibbons.  It’s classical façade, complete with pediment, architrave and ornate Corinthian columns, is a remnant of an older building from the 1800’s, and offers a delightfully archaic touch to London’s busy modern streets.

In it’s early life it was primarily concerned with such thinks as variety performances as pantomimes. It is especially famous for being the home of the Royal Variety Performance, a variety show held yearly around the Christmas period that features some fantastic family entertainment, and is usually attended by the celebrities of the Royal family.

The theatre was re-energised under the management of Val Parnell with the presentation of big American names on the stage.  Such famous stars as Judy Garland, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Johnny Ray all appeared at this fantastic theatre.

In the seventies it also showed many live pop acts such as Slade and Marvin Gaye.

More recently it has been bought by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s company, and so has focused more on musical theatre as a result.  Since the early nineties the theatre has shown many wonderful musicals such as ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’, ‘Oliver!’, ‘Saturday Night Fever’, ‘The King and I’, ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’, ‘Scrooge – The Musical’, ‘The Sound of Music’ and ‘Sister Act – The Musical’.

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