The Prince Edward Theatre, situated on Old Compton Street in Soho, is one of London’s finest examples of an Art Deco theatre. Designed by Edward Stone and built in 1929 by Griggs and Son, the theatre opened in April 1930 with a production of musical comedy, Rio Rita.
In its early years, the venue was host to the London debut of the famous cabaret artist Josephine Baker, who premiered her famous ‘Bananas Dance’ on the Prince Edward stage. In the following years the theatre converted into a dance and cabaret hall, renamed the London Casino, in 1935. Shortly after this in 1935, the building was badly damaged by what is considered to be the worst air raid on London during the Second World War. Despite this, it was very lucky to still be standing, considering that all the neighbouring buildings on the street were destroyed.
After considerable restoration, the theatre was redubbed the Queensberry All Services Club, and reused as a club for servicemen while the shows being presented were broadcast by the BBC. In 1954, the venue had another change of fortunes and was converted into a Cinerama, before finally becoming the Prince Edward Theatre we know today when it hosted Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita in 1974.
Since then, this fabulous 1,716 seat theatre has housed smash-hits like Anything Goes, Some Like It Hot, West Side Story, Mamma Mia!, Mary Poppins, Jersey Boys, Miss Saigon, and Disney’s Aladdin.