The Dominion Theatre has long held the reputation for being amongst the best places in the capital to witness some of the best musicals in the West End. With “We Will Rock You” running at the venue for much of the last decade and shows before it seeing a host of talented performers take to the stage to sing, this is no wonder. But this tradition goes back many decades, to a time in which the music of Queen was yet to be heard and the long-running Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap” had only just begun its run at the Ambassador’s Theatre.
It was 1958 and the show was “South Pacific”, which would go on to run at the venue for four years and become an enormous success, with “The Sound of Music” confirming this firmly when it ran in the 1960s. It sealed the status of the venue and would ensure that it would have a long and brilliant future ahead of it as a stand-out West End venue.
But it had been a long road getting there. The Dominion Theatre had been constructed in the latter years of the 1920s and initially found it difficult to find an audience for its shows. That is until it was converted to present movies and it joined a long list of London theatres that had people flocking to experience the latest moving pictures. It retained this ability for many years and it wasn’t until the 1950s that live productions made their mark on its stage once again.
As the venue had been built in the 1920s it had escaped the misfortunes of the First World War, but it meant that it was standing in the capital when the London Blitz reared its head and with its distinctive look designed by architects W and TR Milburn, there was a lot to lose. But having closed at the height of the bombardment it managed to come out of the war unscathed and deliver high quality productions right up until the modern day.
Over the decades it has remained a location in which to witness some high quality musicals and it has been some time since it hosted a movie, instead opting to stand out amongst other West End theatres as a location to present some spectacular and famous productions. This is likely to continue well into the future, whatever shows are revealed to be taking to its stage.
The Dominion Theatre is of course most famous for the production of “We Will Rock You”, based on the music of Queen, which has been running since 2002. However, the venue has previously been the home of a wide range of famous stage shows. As previously mentioned, shows such as “South Pacific” and “The Sound of Music” had ensured that it would have an audience well into the future after they appeared in the 1950s and 1960 and it is thanks to its large capacity (which had neared 3,000 when it first opened) that it is able to provide the home to such blockbuster productions.
Since early musicals appeared in the mentioned decades, The Dominion Theatre would go on to host the likes of “Star” and “The Band Show” in the 1960s and 1970s and by the time the 1990s rolled around it had established itself as one many homes for high profile musicals. Productions such as “Grease” appeared here in the 1990s, in addition to the likes of “Scrooge” and “Beauty and the Beast”, and thanks to their inbuilt audiences, they managed to attract an abundance of eager theatregoers, allowing it to flourish in the process.
Then the 2000s arrived and it was in this decade that it would eventually find a show that would remain on its stage well into the future. After hosting the likes of “Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake”, “Notre-Dame de Paris” and another production of “Grease”, it would finally open its doors to “We Will Rock You” in 2002, giving audiences the opportunity to witness a spectacular and compelling story set to the music of the hit band Queen. It has proven to be an enormous success and it has not been unusual to set box office records and to end the year as one of the most successful shows operating in the capital.
So the Dominion Theatre has enjoyed a long and vibrant history as a cinema and as a home to some of the best musical theatregoers can find in London. Whether this continues will of course depend upon the quality of the shows that it chooses to stage, but it is likely that it will remain a vital part of the West End theatre landscape and as “We Will Rock You” is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon, it is likely that it will continue to pull in the punters thanks to the enduring popularity of Queen.
Further Facts about the Dominion Theatre
We Will Rock You, at the end of 2008 it was revealed that the show was a high earner and during the final week of the year, from Monday 29th December 2008, it managed to attract 20,000 visitors, which is more than any other show during any other week of the year.
|Friday, 30 Sep, 2016||Dominion Theatre, London||The Bodyguard|
|Saturday, 01 Oct, 2016||Dominion Theatre, London||The Bodyguard|
|Monday, 03 Oct, 2016||Dominion Theatre, London||The Bodyguard|
|Tuesday, 04 Oct, 2016||Dominion Theatre, London||The Bodyguard|
|Wednesday, 05 Oct, 2016||Dominion Theatre, London||The Bodyguard|
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