The current Theatre Royal was built in 1812, but it is in fact the fourth theatre to stand on the site. As one of the few venues in the city at the time to hold a license for drama instead of musical and burlesque, the management decided that it should focus on national culture. This was initiated with a landmark production of The Merchant of Venice in 1816, with Edmund Kean’s noted portrayal of Shylock. Since then, it has hosted a variety of productions including musicals, ballet, revues and drama.
The theatre is huge; it has a capacity of 2,237 over 4 levels. Most seats offer clear views, although pillars affect the back of the Stalls and the Upper Circle, and the handrail affects the front row of the Balcony. The building is air-conditioned and has 6 licensed bars.
The auditorium has an infra-red sound amplification system with 10 headsets. There is a disabled entrance on Russell Street which leads into the Stalls, where there are 4 spaces for wheelchair users. There is an adapted toilet near this entrance.
The nearest tube station is Covent Garden (250m). Parking can be found on single yellow lines on Russell Street or at the NCP on Drury Lane.
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