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Haymarket Theatre

From Academic Kids

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London_Theatre_Royal_Haymarket.jpg
Haymarket Theatre, ca. 1900

The Theatre Royal Haymarket or Haymarket Theatre is a theatre on the The Haymarket in London which dates back to 1720. The original building was a little further north in the same street. It has been at its current location since 1821, when it was redesigned by John Nash.

The Haymarket has been the site of a couple of significant innovations in theatre. In 1873, it was the venue for the first scheduled matinée performance, establishing a custom soon followed in theatres everywhere. Six years later, its auditorium was reconstructed and the stage was enclosed in the first use of the picture frame proscenium.

Its managers have included Squire Bancroft, John Baldwin Buckstone, Cyril Maude, and Herbert Beerbohm Tree. Its current capacity is 888.

History

Its first major success was a 1729 production of Maggoty Johnson's Hurlothrumbo. In 1862, the theatre was host to a 400-night run of Our American Cousin, with Edward Southern as Lord Dundreary. The play's success brought the word "dreary" into common use.

Stage and proscenium
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Stage and proscenium

John Gielgud produced a 1939 repertory season, including Maugham's The Circle, Congreve's Love for Love, and Shakespeare's Hamlet.

In 1893, Oscar Wilde premiered A Woman of No Importance, his first comedy, at the Haymarket. The play returned for a 2003 production directed by Adrian Noble and starring Rupert Graves, Samantha Bond, Prunella Scales and Rachael Stirling.

The theatre underwent a major refurbishment in 1994. In May 2004 it closed for two nights after bits of the ceiling fell down during a performance. About 13 people suffered mainly cuts and bruises when plaster fell into the auditorium during the "When Harry Met Sally" Show.

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