60 Years Ago – How London’s Theatreland looked in Jan 1958

London’s Theatreland in January 1958 had a very different mix of shows from what’s on offer today. There were fewer musicals, more drama and the last remnants of revue. The Christmas pantomimes didn’t open until Boxing Day, rather than early December, and would run through January and some into March. The musicals running included three British greats , The Boy Friend, Free As Air,  Salad Days as well as Grab Me A Gondola; the only Broadway contribution was Bells Are Ringing.

Dramas and comedies occupied the stages of the Winter Gardens (became the site for the New London), Aldwych, Saville (now the Odeon Covent Garden), Palace, Cambridge, Adelphi, Piccadilly, Phoenix, Strand (now the Novello), Garrick, Theatre Royal Drury Lane and Her Majesty’s while revue played the Apollo (Shaftesbury Ave), Fortune, Prince Of Wales, Comedy (Harold Pinter) and Victoria Palace.

Other theatre changes from 1958 are Globe Theatre became Gielgud, New is now Noel Coward, the Princes is once again the Shaftesbury, Scala and Westminster have long since been demolished (although The Other Palace has been created as part of the reconstruction of the Westminster site), Whitehall has become the Trafalgar Studios, Windmill a casino, the only additions are those from the Gaumont cinema circuit Apollo Victoria (New Victoria cinema), Eventim Apollo Hammersmith (Gaumont cinema) and Dominion as well as Prince Edward (London Casino – Cinerama), Peacock (from the Royalty Kingsway cinema) and then the reopening of the Lyceum Theatre in Wellington Street and the Playhouse Northumberland Avenue and new venues such as Barbican, Donmar Warehouse, Menier Chocolate Factory, Southwark Playhouse, National Theatre and most recently the Bridge as well as a myriad of fringe venues.

Below are the Theatre Listings for the week of Monday January 7th 1958.



Illustrations taken from the Overtures Archives