Apollo Victoria Theatre

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Situated just across from Victoria Station, the famous Apollo Victoria Theatre was built in 1929 as a state-of-the-art cinema but went on to become one of London's key theatre venues following a successful switch to musical theatre in the late seventies.

The theatre opened its doors in October 1930 with a screening of the film 'Old English' and a stage show called Hoop-La. At this point the venue, which was designed by E. Wamsley Lewis and constructed for Gaumont affiliated Provincial Cinematograph Theatres, was called the New Victoria. The lavish art deco auditorium was an impressive and costly construction that was notable for having two front entrances – complete with almost identical facades - at either end of the building, one on Wilton Street and the other on Vauxhall Bridge Road.

The Apollo Victoria Cinema

Though ostensibly a cinema, the New Victoria initially played host to a mixture of movies and live shows and continued to put on Big Band concerts throughout it's early years. In fact it was because the venue doubled up as a theatre that it was spared during the widespread culling of cinemas in the 1950s, when the introduction of television, among other commercial pressures, led to the closing and demolition of cinemas across Britain.

In the mid seventies the cinema was closed and the Apollo Victoria reopened as a theatre. After a number of successful musicals such as Fiddler on the Roof, The Sound of Music and Camelot the theatre began to emerge as one of the capital's leading musical theatre venues. Then, in 1984, came Starlight Express, Andre Lloyd Webber's blockbuster rock 'n' roller-skating musical. The show called for dramatic modifications to the theatre's interior so racetracks could run through the audience. Such extensive work was well worth it however, Starlight Express was a smash hit and went on to enjoy an 18-year run at the Apollo Victoria Theatre.

Wicked Wicked


The next few years saw several shows make the Apollo their home, Bombay Dreams ran for two years between 2002 and 2004, Saturday Night Fever ran for just over a year and Movin' Out lasted just two months in 2006. Next up was Wicked, which proved to be an immediate and unprecedented success, taking a record breaking £761,000 over the course of its first eight performances.

Based on Gregory Maguire's 1995 novel of the same name, Wicked is an ingenious retelling of The Wizard of Oz story that has beguiled London audiences for nearly a decade, garnering considerable acclaim along the way. Critics have hailed Wicked as "one of the greatest musicals of our time" (Daily Mail) and "one of the most popular west end musicals ever" (Evening Standard) and audiences have been just as enthusiastic. It remains a massive draw nearly nine years into its run at the Apollo Victoria Theatre.

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