Formerly known as the New London Theatre, the Gillian Lynne Theatre—named in honor of the celebrated dancer and choreographer—is a major cultural venue in London’s West End. With origins dating to the mid-19th century, the theater has gone through many guises and hosted many heavy hitters, including Cats, War Horse, and School of Rock.
Originally known as Mogul Music Hall, transformed into the Winter Garden Theatre, and later redubbed the New London Theatre, what is now known as the Gillian Lynne Theatre has undergone many changes over the centuries, but—since its founding in 1847—has remained one of the West End’s key theaters. Named in honor of Lynne (who danced at the Royal Ballet and choreographed Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats and Phantom of the Opera) in 2018, the theater became the first such London venue to be named after a (nonroyal) woman. With its distinctive, modern looks—it was redesigned by Croatian architect Paul Tvrtković in 1973—the Gillian Lynne Theatre is easily spotted, even amidst the bustle of Covent Garden.
The venue can be glimpsed during walking tours or informal strolls through the area, and it’s also simple to book advance tickets to performances there.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Gillian Lynne Theatre has a 1,000-person capacity across two levels.
- The stalls section of the theater can be reached by elevator and has several dedicated spaces for wheelchair users.
- The theater hosts three bar areas on-site, plus a dedicated VIP section.
- A coatroom is available on-site, and items can be checked for a small fee.
How to Get There
Based in centrally located Covent Garden, the Gillian Lynne Theatre can be reached via numerous forms of transportation. If using the Underground, take the Piccadilly line or Central line to Holborn station, or take the Piccadilly line to Covent Garden station. The theater can also be accessed via bus line 1, 59, 68, 134, 168, 171, 188, 243, or X68 and on foot, by bike, or by car.
When to Get There
The Gillian Lynne Theatre’s box office is open from 12pm on performance days until the start of the show, and on Sundays from 10am to 6pm. As there may be lines at the box office, at the coatroom, or at the theater bars, it’s best to arrive roughly half an hour before showtime.
Though the Gillian Lynne Theatre is a thoroughly modern venue, the site has actually hosted theatrical performances since the Elizabethan era. In the 17th century, Charles II’s mistress, Nell Gwyn, was connected with a tavern that stood on the site, and in the 18th century, it was a popular spot for glee-club singers.