Two royal boxes, four comprehensive reconstructions and more than 350 years of unbelievable theatrical history: the Theatre Royal Drury Lane certainly has a colourful story to tell.
- The Theatre Royal Drury Lane has been a site for entertainment since 1663 and is the world’s oldest theatre site in continuous use.
- The current fourth theatre is over 200 years old and was designed by Benjamin Dean Wyatt. It first opened its doors in 1812 and is Grade One listed.
- The theatre has been visited by every reigning monarch since the Restoration
- In a series of world theatre firsts, the first version of the National Anthem was sung in the theatre in 1745, Rule Britannia played for the first time as part of the score for Dr Arne’s Alfred in 1750, the first Safety Curtain in the world was installed in 1794 and in 1817 it was the first theatre to be gas lit throughout.
- Theatre Royalty to have graced the stage include Dan Leno, Henry Irving, Julie Andrews, Rex Harrison, Ivor Novello, Michael Crawford and Ginger Rogers to name just a few.
- The two sides of the Theatre were given the names King’s Side and Prince’s Side. This unique feature goes back to the time of King George III who was not on good terms with his son. To avoid confrontation each was directed to their own side. This has resulted in the theatre possessing two Royal Boxes.
- The Theatre Royal Drury Lane is one of the world’s most haunted theatres. The most famous ghost is the Man in Grey, who appears during matinees in a long grey coat and tricorn hat. During renovations in the 1840s, a skeleton in grey rags with a knife through his heart was discovered on the spot where the ghost disappears. The appearance of almost any one of the handful of ghosts that are said to frequent the theatre signals good luck for an actor or production.