Officially the largest theatre in London, the London Coliseum is a luxurious, family variety theatre. Located in St. Martin's Lane, Westminster, the theatre officially opened on 24th December 1904 and has gone on to host a bevy of spectacular shows in its 115 years of existence. The London Coliseum, also known as the London Coliseum Theatre of Varieties when it first opened, was designed by famed architect Frank Matcham for the Impresario, Oswald Stoll. Often described as the 'people's palace of entertainment’, the theatre, at the time of its construction, was the only theatre in Europe which offered lifts for patrons to reach the upper seating sections.
In its century-long existence, the London Coliseum has been used for a variety of purposes, such as musical comedies, stage plays, variety shows, and even a cinema to screen movies in the Cinerama format. In 1968, the Sadler's Wells Opera Company, now called the English National Opera, acquired ownership of the theatre. Presently, the London Coliseum is primarily used to host operas and also functions as the home of the English National Ballet.
The London Coliseum has played host to some truly iconic operas and composers since its launch in 1904. Some of the top operas presented in the theatre include The Royal Hunt of the Sun, Anna Karenina, The Mask of Orpheus, From Morning to Midnight, Thebans, Marnie, Satyagraha, The Death of Klinghoffer, The Gospel According to the Other Mary and many others. The London Coliseum has also become home to three legendary composers, Janacek, Handel and Britten.
In April 2020, the venue will be hosting Hairspray. If you're planning on watching either of the shows, we have exactly the thing for you. Our London Coliseum seating plan guide has all the information you'd need to make your experience truly special.
Address: St Martin's Ln, London WC2N 4ES, UK
Seating Capacity: 2263
Stalls : 520
Dress Circle: 635
Upper Circle: 610
Check out the London Coliseum Seating Plan here.
Arriving Soon at London Coliseum
Hairspray makes its West End return nearly a decade after its original run at the Shaftesbury Theatre where it received a whopping 11 Olivier Award nominations. It also won 8 Tony Awards in 2003 and ran for a total of 2,642 performances on Broadway. In the current edition scheduled to open in April 2020 at the London Coliseum, the music has been handled by Marc Shaiman in addition to direction by the talented by Jack O'Brien, and choreography by Jerry Mitchell. The icing on the cake would be the return of singer and actor Michael Ball as Edna Turnblad!
Hairspray follows Edna Turnblad, the mother of a high-school student Tracy. Tracy has aspirations of performing on 'The Corny Collins Shows' even though she is overweight. When a member goes on leave for a period of 9 months, Tracy sees her opportunity to be a part of the show. Unfortunately for her, she gets rejected by producer Von Tussle owing to the same reason that she's overweight. In the meantime, she meets Seaweed Stubbs, a dancer who teaches her many a dance move. Using her newly acquired moveset and skills, Tracy attempts to grab the attention of Corny Collins himself at the Summer Hop. Collins is impressed by Tracy's performance and offers her a role on the show much to the chagrin of Von Tussle.
With their newfound popularity, Tracy and Edna find it troublesome to deal with people plotting constantly against them. Will Tracy be able to find love amidst these trying times? Find out if Tracy can overcome her hardships by watching Hairspray.
Michael Ball as Edna Turnblad
Tuesday to Saturday - 7:30 PM
Thursday & Saturday - 3:00 PM
Sunday - 4:00 PM
2 hours and 15 minutes, with 1 intermission
Stalls: Row O of this section provide level access and transfers are available to any aisle seat that is level access. In the stalls, boxes D to L are level access while boxes E to F are reserved for wheelchair users.
Dress Circle: From the foyer, the dress circle section is 30 steps up. Since there's a customer lift available at the theatre, there are two additional wheelchair accessible seats for patrons at the end of row K.
Upper Circle: This section is 63 steps up from the foyer. Please note that the lift doesn't stop at this level, which means this section is off limits for patrons with limited mobility and those who use a wheelchair.
Balcony: Up 93 steps from the main foyer, the balcony can be accessed via the customer lift. Level access is available to row K.
Wheelchair: The London Coliseum is well-equipped for wheelchair users. There are two wheelchair seats in the stalls, two in the dress circle and four wheelchair accessible spaces in the stalls boxes. A customer lift is available to take patrons to most levels of the theatre. Transfer seats are also available in the theatre, with six such seats in the balcony section and four in the dress circle.
Restroom: Each of the four sections in the London Coliseum has toilets for patrons. A wheelchair accessible, unisex toilet in located in the basement, stalls, dress circle and balcony.
Bar: There are five bars in the theatre that serve a variety of snacks and drinks. You can also get free water at every bar at all levels of the theatre. There's also a great restaurant at the lower ground level of the theatre called the American Bar Restaurant.
Assistive Listening System: The theatre provides free enhanced sound headphones for guests who are deaf or hard of hearing. Visit the information desk at the theatre to collect your headphones.
Cloakroom: The cloakroom is located on the lower ground level of the theatre and is absolutely free of cost!
- If you're looking for extra legroom, avoid all sections except the stalls. In the stalls, opt for any aisle seats to get additional legroom.
- Sign language interpreted performances are also sometimes available at the London Coliseum. If you're interested in attending one, reach out to the theatre staff to know more about the next signed performance that is scheduled.
- Guide and assistance dogs are welcome inside the theatre. The well-trained staff will take good care of the dogs for the duration of the show. A water bowl is provided for the dogs and they can also be taken for a walk during the show, if needed.
- No outside food and drinks are allowed inside the theatre, except unopened water bottles. If you purchase something from the theatre bar, please transfer it to a plastic cup before entering the auditorium.
- If you have any dietary restrictions, please inform the theatre staff of the same so that they can allow you to bring your own food and drink inside the auditorium.
- The London Coliseum is fully air-conditioned. Please dress accordingly and bring in an extra jacket or pullover in case it gets too cold for you.
The London Coliseum is located in St. Martin's Lane and is easily accessible via rail, tube, and bus.
Tube: The nearest tube stations to the theatre are Charing Cross, Leicester Square, Covent Garden, and Embankment.
By Rail : If you wish to take the rail to the theatre, Charing Cross and Waterloo are the two closest stations.
Bus: The theatre is quite well serviced by bus lines, including 3, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 23, 24, 29, 53, 88, 91, 139, 159 and 179.
Restaurants near London Coliseum
1. Barrafina: This cosy, diner-style tapas bar with stools for their specialty Spanish small plates, served with sherry, cava and more.
2. Browns Covent Garden: Try this all-day British brasserie and bar for their special lobster nights in a grand cafe setting.
3. Wagamama: This Asian-inspired, Japanese restaurant features dishes that are whisked to long communal tables.
4. Nando's: Head over to this Afro-Portuguese restaurant for their lip smacking flame-grilled chicken served with a special chilli sauce.
5. Blame Gloria: Looking for a chilled-out place for your post opera after-party? This party bar with upbeat music and a wide selection of cocktails fits the bill!
5. Frenchie: A strikingly close cousin of the Parisian original, this chair eatery serves globally influenced French food with drinks to match.
More West End Guides
For more West End information, here are some helpful quick links!