Lyceum Theatre History and Timeline

The venue opens as the Theatre Royal Lyceum and English Opera House.

The venue opens as the Theatre Royal Lyceum and English Opera House.

1834-01-01

Designed by Beazley, the venue cost £40,000 to build. It was used initially to house English operas and was the home of works by Michael Balfe and John Barnett. It went on to be managed by husband and wife team Robert Keeley and Mary Anne Keeley and became known for presenting adaptations of books by Charles Dickens.

Francesco Tamagno perfored at the Lyceum

Francesco Tamagno perfored at the Lyceum

1889-01-01

The world's finest Italian dramatic tenors, Francesco Tamagno performed at the Lyceum, singing the lead role in Otello by Giuseppe Verdi.

Henry Irving performs at the theatre

Henry Irving performs at the theatre

1890-01-01

Bram Stoker worked as business manager of the venue, and was inspired by the actor Henry Irving to create his most famous character, Count Dracula. Irving starred in many Shakespeare productions alongside Ellen Terry.

The Lyceum was rebuilt

The Lyceum was rebuilt

1904-01-01

The venue was bought by Thomas Barrasford and was rebuilt in rococo style, retaining the original portico of the building. The theatre became known for music hall and variety acts as well as melodrams. Pantomimes were seen at the theatre along with harlequinades - a slapstick performance by a clown.

The Lyceum Theatre closes

The Lyceum Theatre closes

1939-01-01

The venue closed on the brink of the Second World War. London City Council bought the property and planned to demolish it in order for road improvements to take place. The final performance was 'Hamlet' directed by Sir John Gielgud.

The building is converted into the Lyceum Ballroom

The building is converted into the Lyceum Ballroom

1951-01-01

Following the Second World War the venue escaped demolition and was reopened as a ballroom. It quickly became a venue for big bands and concerts, and the Miss World contest was held there every year from 1951 - 1968.

The theatre goes dark

The theatre goes dark

1986-01-01

Following the National Theatre's 1985 promenade performance, the venue went dark. It was restored in 1996 in order to house large scale musicals, including a larger orchestra pit and improved front of house facilities.

Jesus Christ Superstar opens

Jesus Christ Superstar opens

1996-11-19

Director Gale Edwards' impressive revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'Jesus Christ Superstar' opened at the Lyceum Theatre starring Steve Balsamo and Joanna Ampil. This new interpretation was designed for a new generation, and used modern day costumes, set and props to give it a fresh edge. The production enjoyed a successful UK tour and was later filmed for video release.

The National Theatre's production of 'Oklahoma!' opens

The National Theatre's production of 'Oklahoma!' opens

1998-07-15

Trevor Nunn's production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic 'Oklahoma' transferred from the Olivier Theatre to the Lyceum where it ran for just under a year. Featuring spectacular choreography by Susan Stroman, this iconic production starred Hugh Jackman as Curly, alongside Josefina Gabrielle as Laurey. Maureen Lipman starred as Aunt Eller, alongside Shuler Hensley as Jud. The production was a hit for the Southbank venue and later transferred to Broadway.

The Lion King opens

The Lion King opens

1999-09-24

Following a successful Broadway production, Disney Theatricals opened The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre where it continues to run to packed houses. Julie Taymor's production has been seen by almost 10 million people and continues to be one of London's most popular shows. Based on the 1994 Disney film of the same name, the musical features a score by Elton John and Tim Rice.

Past Shows at Lyceum Theatre