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West End guide | Charing Cross Theatre London

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Located under the Arches in Villiers Street, the Charing Cross Theatre is an old off West End house that has undergone many a name change. The theatre was established in 1864 and has been known by many names over the years, including Gattis-in-The-Arches, The Players Theatre and the New Players Theatre. In 2011, the theatre was taken over by Broadway producers Sean Sweeney and Steven M. Levy and was renamed the Charing Cross Theatre. Originally, the theatre was primarily used as a Victorian music hall but presently hosts national and international productions that require a certain amount of intimacy.

The music hall history of the theatre is still honored with periodic music performances on Sundays but since 2002, the Charing Cross Theatre has operated as a legit commercial venue. The current management of the theatre aims to maintain a collaborative performance arts space where seasoned performers can work with upcoming young talent and also create a space to host affordable theatrical productions.

The Charing Cross Theatre retains its quaint Victorian charm and architecture with the original Victorian bar at the back of the auditorium featuring the original Victorian glass paneling. Hosting a fine cocktail of plays, musicals, late night cabarets, and comedy shows, the Charing Cross Theatre is a venue which barely slows down! Some prominent past performances include Harold and Maude, The Braille Legacy, Death Takes a Holiday, The Woman in White, Ghetto Klown, Vieux Carre, Dear World, In The Bar Of a Tokyo Hotel, 6 Actors in Search of a Director, Amour, Queen of the Mist, and countless others.

Venue Details

Address: The Arches, Villiers St, Charing Cross, London WC2N 6NL, UK

Built: 1936

Seating Capacity: 276
Stalls : 256
Balcony: 20

Seating Chart
Check out the Charing Cross Theatre Seating Plan here.

Practical Information

Section Accessibility

Stalls: The stalls section is accessible via 16 steps down from the main foyer. There are handrails available to help patrons with the steps. From row C onwards, there's a gentle rake in the seating. If you're looking for extra legroom, opt for seats in row K, which happens to be on the same level as the stalls entrance. The stalls toilets can be accessed via 8 steps down towards the theatre.

Balcony: Since the balcony is just two straight rows of seating, there are no steps and level access is available.

Available Facilities

Wheelchair: Wheelchair accessible seats are only available in the balcony row since there are 16 steps which lead to the stalls seating and elevator isn't available at the theatre. In the balcony, four seats are marked as being accessible, namely L3, L4, L5, and L7.

Restroom: There are unisex toilets available in the balcony section. These toilets have level access. The restrooms in the stalls section are not wheelchair accessible.

Bar: While there are bars available on both the stalls and the balcony sections, the highlight of the Charing Cross Theatre is the Players Bar and Kitchen. Open from 5 PM to 9:30 PM, the restaurant offers an amazing selection of pizzas, burgers, salads, and sandwiches. We would recommend booking a table in advance since there's generally high demand.

Handy Tips

  • Guide dogs are allowed inside the theatre but cannot be taken to the auditorium. You're free to bring a guide dog along and leave it with the staff who will take good care of it.
  • If you're looking for extra leg space, there is a walkway in front of row K allowing users extra legroom. Since the theatre is small and some seats can get pretty cramped, you should opt for a seat in row K to enjoy the show comfortably.
  • More than watching a show, the Charing Cross Theatre is located in a prime London tourist spot and offers plenty of sightseeing opportunities. Plan your show timing accordingly to ensure you have extra time on your hands before or after the show to explore the area.
  • If you need to book a wheelchair accessible seat, please book your tickets well in advance. Since there are only four wheelchair accessible seats available in the theatre, chances are that the seats might become sold out.
  • Unless there's absolutely no other option, avoid booking seats in the balcony section. The seats here offer a side view and are often restricted because of stage equipment and wiring. Try and book your tickets well in advance to ensure you get a seat in the stalls section.

Getting There

Given its more than prime location, the Charing Cross Theatre is easily accessible via public transport. Here are the most convenient ways to reach Charing Cross Theatre.

Tube: The tube stations closest to the Charing Cross Theatre are Charing Cross station in the Bakerloo and Northern Lines, and Embankment station in the Bakerloo, Circle, District and Northern lines.

Bus: The bus lines servicing the area include, 6, 9, 11, 15, 23, 24, 87, 91, 139 and 176.

Vehicle: The nearest paid car park from the Charing Cross Theatre is the NCP car park on St. Martin's Lane.

Restaurants near Charing Cross Theatre London

1. Theodore Bullfrog: This hip bar offers a modern menu of burgers, comfort food and snacks and hosts comedies, quizzes, and live sports.

2. Lupita Central Mexican Restaurant: Visit this restaurant for Mexico City style tacos, quesadillas, tequila, and beer in a contemporary setting.

3. The Princess of Wales: This Nicholson's pub is named after George IV's first wife who he married in secret and never made his queen, officially.

4. Gordon's Wine Bar:: Experience authentic and original Dickensian-style decor at this 19th century wine bar in candlelit, vaulted cellars.

5. Tandoor Chop House: Gorge on scrumptious Tandoori meats at this British chip house where cuisines are mixed for a delicious result.

6. Herman ze German: This small deli sells German wurst sausages with crispy onions, freshly baked bread, and pretzels.

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