Notre Dame Hall
Cavern in the Town
|Public transit||Leicester Square|
|Owner||London International Arts Theatre|
The Leicester Square Theatre is a 400-seat theatre near Leicester Square, in the City of Westminster, London. It was previously known as Notre Dame Hall, Cavern in the Town and The Venue. The theatre hosts stand-up comedy, cabaret, music, plays and comedies.
The building originated as the Notre Dame Hall in 1953, replacing an earlier building that had been destroyed by World War II bombing, and part of the rebuild of the adjacent Notre Dame de France church, and the hall was used as a French cultural centre for a time. It became a popular music venue in the 1960s under the name Cavern in the Town, regularly hosting beat music group The Small Faces. It was renamed Notre Dame Hall in the 1970s and presented The Rolling Stones and The Who, but specialised in punk music, hosting such acts as The Sex Pistols. In 1979, The Clash previewed material from London Calling here shortly before recording the album. In 2001, it was converted to a theatre and named The Venue.
The theatre's famous productions have included the world premiere of the Boy George musical Taboo, which played a highly successful run in 2002 before transferring to Broadway, Round the Horne (2003) After this, the theatre was then named Leicester Square Theatre. American comedian Joan Rivers made her acting debut in August 2008 with her play Joan Rivers: A Work in Progress by a Life in Progress, which played a total of 75 performances to celebrate her birthday. A musical based on the comic strip Alex, by Charles Peattie and Russell Taylor, starring Robert Bathurst, finished the year 2008. and An Evening with Joan Collins ran from 2011 to 2015. Bill Bailey, Roseanne Barr, Sandra Bernhard, Jo Brand, Bill Burr, Julian Clary, Greg Davies, Macy Gray, Richard Herring, Russell Howard, Reginald D Hunter, Stewart Lee, Demetri Martin, Jerry Sadowitz, Miranda Sings, Tom Stade, Doug Stanhope, Ricky Tomlinson, Todrick Hall, and Tim Vine have also performed at the Leicester Square Theatre. In January 2016, Grassroots Shakespeare London was announced as the theatre's first ever resident company and the only resident Shakespeare company in the West End. Following on from their sold out Othello starring James Alexandrou, the company will be participating in the global Shakespeare 400 celebrations with their production of Twelfth Night starring Ellie Nunn and John Pickard.
The theatre is owned and managed by artistic director Martin Witts.