The magnificent Savoy Theatre has been hosting notable theatre productions and stage shows since its opening back in 1881, when theatrical impresario Richard D’Oyly Carte commissioned the building of a new theatre to host the original comic operas of famous pair Gilbert and Sullivan. Ever since its debut performances the Savoy has been synonymous with premiering quality drama, opera and musicals, and has enjoyed a varied history in the process. The Grade II-listed theatre was the first public building in the world to be lit entirely by electricity, and it has blazed a trail for London in the following decades both in terms of innovation and modernisation.
The original building was designed by C. J. Phipps and was an architectural milestone in its use of electric lamps above gaslights, and in its opening years the Savoy was focused largely on the operatic production of Gilbert and Sullivan, giving rise to the term ‘Savoy Opera’. However, in 1929, the building was closed for renovation and the design was completely replaced by a ceiling painted like the sky and seating intended to reflect flower beds in its colouring.
From its reopening in 1929 the theatre was the home of a number of famous shows, including the first performances of Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit, several comedies by William Douglas-Home and the play The Man Who Came To Dinner. The theatre was again renovated in the early 1990s following a fire, reopening in 1993. In recent decades the stage of the Savoy has seen performances of works by renowned playwrights such as Coward, Stoppard, Priestley and Shakespeare, as well as concerts by acts including the Pet Shop Boys.
Today the Savoy is part of the Ambassador Theatre Group and has a musical-based output, with modern productions including the Take That musical Never Forget, Porgy and Bess, Carousel, and Dreamboats and Petticoats. The Savoy Theatre was recently the home of the original London production of fabulous musical Legally Blonde, which opened in 2009 to wide critical and public acclaim, followed by the Tina Turner musical Soul Sister and a revival of Cabaret. Let It Be, the Beatles ‘theatrical concert’ transferred to the Savoy Theatre from the Prince of Wales Theatre with performances beginning on 1 February 2013.
Access and Facilities
- A cloakroom is available
- There are four bars – one on each level and a fourth in the Mezzanine.
- There are male and female toilets located on all three levels
- Wheelchair access is available on the Dress Circle level