Theatre Facts

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  1. Following the death of Margaret Thatcher on the 8th April 2013, the Billy Elliot audience were polled that evening to see if they still wanted to hear the song Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher. The majority vote was for the song to be sung as planned and uncensored.  Apparently 8 audience members walked out.
  2. The original Orange Tree Theatre was in a room above the pub across the road from the current site.
  3. The word "audition" originally referred to a trial in the legal sense.
  4. Before his infamy as Abraham Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth was a successful actor, acclaimed by audience and critics alike. He was well known for his energetic performances.
  5. A wit to the the very end, shortly before his death Oscar Wilde was quoted to have said "My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One of us has got to go."
  6. Mary Martin was 45 when she created the role of 22 year old Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music.
  7. As the Theatre Royal burned in 1809, playwright  and manager of the the theatre, Richard Brinsley Sheridan drank wine outside. When questioned over his actions he said "A man may surely be allowed to take a glass of wine by his own fireside."
  8. Before he was pope, Pope John Paul II wrote a play called The Jeweller's Shop which played the Westminster Theatre in 1982.
  9. At least 3 times in his career, Richard Griffiths ejected audience members for allowing their phones to ring while he was performing.
  10. Andrew Lloyd Webber released a top 10 single in 1992 called Tetris, under the pseudonym Doctor Spin.
  11. During World War II, Noel Coward ran the British propaganda office in Paris.
  12. In Shakespeare's will, the only thing he left to his wife was his second best bed.
  13. Before 1984 the Olivier Awards were known as the Urnies, as the prize was a small blue Wedgwood urn.
  14. Laurence Olivier's family nicknamed him Kim.
  15. The Almeida Theatre in Islington used to be a Salvation Army Citadel.
  16. William Shakespeare once lived in a house on the present day site of The Barbican Centre.
  17. The Opera House, Tunbridge Wells, although now a Wethespoons pub, occasionally gets converted back into a theatre for live opera.

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  1. The Derngate Theatre, Northampton can change from standard theatre to concert hall in just 8 hours. Click here to see the transformation.
  2. Theatre Royal Bath is apparently haunted by a phantom butterfly.
  3. Director/producer Hal Prince holds the record for most Tony Awards won by an individual. He has 21.
  4. Some of the songs written for Meat Loaf's "Bat Out Of Hell" were originally intended for a musical about Peter Pan.
  5. Billy Elliot The Musical has toured to Durham, North Carolina, but never to County Durham, England where the play is set.
  6. The Old Vic theatre was also used as a coffee tavern in the 1880s.

Old Vic - Theatre Facts - Cheap West End tickets

  1. Composer Irving Berlin, despite living to the age of 101, never learned to play the piano in more than one key. Instead, he had a specially commissioned piano that could change key at the flick of a switch.
  2. An actor called Edward Cullen (like the character in the Twilight series) was in the original Broadway production of Brigadoon.
  3. Elphaba from Wicked was named after the author of The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum (or L.f.b).
  4. All dogs used to play Sandy in the original Broadway production of Annie were rescued pound dogs.
  5. Nancy Seabrooke holds the record for understudying. She understudied on The Mousetrap for 15 years!
  6. For the film of Les Misérables, Hugh Jackman didn't drink water for 72 hours prior to filming the prison scenes in order to look particularly gaunt.
  7. The New Wimbledon Theatre did not replace an old theatre. "New" was simply added to Wimbledon Theatre when Ambassador Theatre Group took over in 2004.

  New Wimbledon Theatre - Theatre Facts - Cheap West End tickets

  1. The musical A Chorus Line was based on the accounts of real dancers interviewed by Michael Bennett.


  1. The largest working theatre in Britain by capacity is Edinburgh Playhouse with a capacity of 3,059.
  2. The old Bush Theatre was originally a dance studio owned by Lionel Blair.
  3. The setting for the stage musical of The Full Monty was moved from Sheffield to Buffalo, New York.
  4. Playwright Ben Jonson was buried in an upright position at Westminster Abbey.
  5. Although some dispute it, records show that Cole Porter served in the French Foreign Legion.
  6. Prolific theatre producer Bill Kenwright is also chairman of Everton Football Club.
  7. As a young actor, John Gielgud understudied Noel Coward in The Vortex. He later went on to take over the role.
  8. As a teenager, Stephen Sondheim was mentored by Oscar Hammerstein II.
  9. Sadler's Wells Theatre was briefly used as a roller skating hall in the 19th century.


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