Dominion Theatre

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Dominion Theatre
Dominion theatre.JPG
Dominion Theatre in October 2008 during We Will Rock You
Address Tottenham Court Road
Camden, London
UK
Coordinates 51°31′00″N 0°07′49″W / 51.516556°N 0.130139°W / 51.516556; -0.130139
Public transit Tottenham Court Road station
Owner Nederlander Organization
Designation Grade II listed
Type West End theatre
Capacity 2,163 on 2 levels
2,074 (for WWRY)
Construction
Opened October 1929
Architect W & TR Milburn
Website
Official website

Dominion Theatre is a West End theatre on Tottenham Court Road close to St Giles Circus and Centre Point Tower, in the London Borough of Camden.

Current[edit]

The Dominion was formerly home to the musical We Will Rock You which had been running at the theatre since 2002. We Will Rock You closed on May 31, 2014 after a successful twelve year run.[1] The theatre itself has undergone a rolling programme of refurbishment which has included reclaiming the area above the main foyer as a studio for rehearsals or events (2008), and reclaiming the offices in Nederlander House, which were originally part of the theatre but had been rented out as commercial office space. Within this area, originally listed on the theatre plans as a 'Boardroom', a new Boardroom space has been created (2011). In 2013 the Dominion produced West End Heroes, a charity one night concert in aid of Help for Heroes. The event was the brainchild of current General Manager David Pearson and a second event for 2014 is already planned. The Dominion is also currently home to Hillsong Church every Sunday, and has hosted MADTrust's West End Eurovision for in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

History[edit]

The Dominion was built in 1928–29, designed by W and TR Milburn with a steel-framed construction and a concave Portland stone facade.[2] It was built as a theatre for live shows, but after faltering business in the early 1930s, the building was converted to also allow it to show films. The theatre was built on the location of the former Horse Shoe Brewery, which was the site of the 1814 London Beer Flood.

Its first major live show was The Judy Garland Show which ran for a month in 1957 and it has been a popular venue for musical theatre ever since.

During the 1980s it became a popular venue for music concerts. Tangerine Dream's album Logos was recorded there in 1982, and contains a tune called "Dominion" in tribute, and Dolly Parton's 1983 concert at the Dominion was filmed and released as a television special, Dolly in London. in 1985, country music star Ricky Skaggs recorded a video and a live CD over the course of two nights. In the mid-1980s the Dominion hosted the musical Time, and the interior was extensively reconstructed to accommodate the shows effects. .

Since the early 1990s the venue has played host to David Ian and Paul Nicholas' new production of Grease, Scrooge: The Musical, Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake, Disney's Beauty and the Beast, a return of Grease, and Notre Dame de Paris among others. Bernadette The Musical, written by Maureen and Gwyn Hughes, also enjoyed a short run in 1990.

In the 1990s the Dominion also hosted the Royal Variety Performance on a number of occasions.

Comedian Bill Hicks filmed his legendary comedy special, Revelations

It now has a seating capacity of 2,069 in two tiers of galleries, following the closure many decades ago of the former upper circle. The theatre retains its 1920s light fittings and art deco plasterwork.

There has been a lot of renovation of the theatre over the past couple of years. The large dressing room block at the rear of the theatre has its stone work cleaned and new exact replica windows fitted. Inside the building has also seen many changes with the reinstatement of the once derelict area originally occupied by the theatre's restaurant/tea rooms and which was utilised by Rank in its time at the Dominion as office space. This large space above the main foyer is now a state of the art rehearsal studio and events space. The entrance way to the Studio has had its original plasterwork carefully restored (a project which is soon to move on to the impressive main foyer). This new space is called 'The Studio' and has already housed the auditions or rehearsals of a number of the West End's top shows including We Will Rock You, Matthew Bourne's Edward Scissorhands, Les Misérables, Cats, Hairspray and Zorro, making it the best located rehearsal studio in London.

In 2002, the hit stage musical We Will Rock You, based on the songs of Queen, created by Queen guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor together with British comedian Ben Elton opened. The show was due to close in October 2006 before embarking on a UK tour, but due to popular demand has been extended indefinitely. The show is currently in its 10th year and as such is the longest running musical ever to play at the Dominion Theatre.[3] The recently refurbished 'Freddie Mercury Suite' displays pictures from the Queen singer's lifetime. This area was previously dedicated to Judy Garland.[4] In March 2014 it was announced that We Will Rock You will close on the 1st June 2014.[5]

On Sundays, Hillsong London holds four church services throughout the day there.

When the Dominion was built in 1929 it was linked to the building on Great Russell Street now known as Nederlander House. This building had been separated from the theatre and rented out as office space for many decades. In 2011 the Dominion spent £200K reinstating the connection between the theatre and this building returning its use to that the original theatre builders intended. It is therefore now home to the theatre management offices plus a refurbished Boardroom space on the top floor. This Boardroom is marked as such on the original 1929 plans and it is now being hired out by the theatre's Dominion Events department for meeting, training and conference bookings.

Ownership[edit]

The Dominion has had a variety of owners during its history. It has been operated by The Rank Organisation and Apollo Leisure from 1988 to 1999. In 1999 Apollo Leisure was taken over by SFX Entertainment and in 2001 SFX Entertainment was bought by Clear Channel Entertainment, part of the US based multinational. It was run by Live Nation UK - ClearChannel's entertainments spin-off organisation, on behalf of the Nederlander Organization. on Friday 23 October 2009 the Nederlander Organization took full control of the venue, buying out Live Nation UK's third ownership taking the venue into a new era.

Recent and present productions[edit]

The nearest London Underground station is Tottenham Court Road.

Hillsong Church London[edit]

Since January 2005 Hillsong Church London have held their church services each Sunday at the Dominion Theatre.

References[edit]

  • Guide to British Theatres 1750-1950, John Earl and Michael Sell pp. 106–7 (Theatres Trust, 2000) ISBN 0-7136-5688-3

External links[edit]