Cambridge Theatre History and Timeline

The Cambridge Theatre opens

The Cambridge Theatre opens

1930-09-04

The theatre was designed by Wimperis Simpson and Guthrie and built by the first manager of the theatre B.A Meyer. The auditorium featured three levels, with enough seating for over 1,200 audience members. Set in the heart of Seven Dials, the location was perfect, and the beautiful art deco building quickly became one of the city's most popular theatrical venues.

Three Sisters opens

Three Sisters opens

1976-06-23

The critically acclaimed production of Chekhov's 'Three Sisters' becomes the most commercially successful Chekhov production in West End history. Jonathan Miller directed Janet Suzman in the iconic production, which went on to win the Society of West End Theatre Awards for Best Production and Best Actress.

Peter Pan opens

Peter Pan opens

1942-11-01

The first Christmas show at the Cambridge Theatre is Peter Pan starring Glynis Johns

Breath of Spring opens

Breath of Spring opens

1958-01-01

Joan Sims appears in Breath of Spring by Peter Coke.

Billy Liar opens

Billy Liar opens

1960-01-01

Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall's impressive play adaptation of 'Billy Liar' opens at the theatre and runs for two years. The play starred Albert Finney, who critics and audiences were at the time hailing as the next Olivier.

Half a Sixpence the Musical opens

Half a Sixpence the Musical opens

1963-03-01

The musical comedy 'Half a Sixpence' opens at the Cambridge Theatre primarily as a star vehicle for British singer and personality Tommy Steele. Steele played Arthur Kipps, a young man who falls into good fortune and climbs the social ladder before falling right back down it. David Heneker's score was perfect for the stage, featuring numbers such as 'It the Rain's Got to Fall' and 'Flash Bang Wallop What a Picture'.

Little Me the Musical opens

Little Me the Musical opens

1964-11-18

Bruce Forsythe stars in the London premiere of Neil Simon's 'Little Me' alongside Avril Angers. The production ran for 334 performances, and was highly praised for its catchy score and its focus on the central performers. CY Coleman provided the music and lyrics, with Simon writing a witty and hilarious book.

Hedda Gabler and Cyrano de Bergerac presented by the National Theatre Company opens

Hedda Gabler and Cyrano de Bergerac presented by the National Theatre Company opens

1970-06-29

The newly formed National Theatre Company, led by Laurence Olivier brings an exciting season to the Cambridge Theatre including two popular plays.

The Black Mikado opens

The Black Mikado opens

1975-04-24

The Black Mikado, an adaptation of Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado, opens at the Cambridge Theatre and runs for 472 performances. Braham Murray directs the nearly all-black cast.

Chicago the Musical - Original London Production opens

Chicago the Musical - Original London Production opens

1977-04-10

The original London production of Chicago the Musical opened at the Cambridge Theatre, following a run on Broadway which was directed by Bob Fosse. The show ran for over 600 performances and was nominated for 'Musical of the Year'. The show starred Jenny Logan as Roxie Hart, Antonia Ellis as Velma Kelly, Don Fellows as Amos Hart and Ben Cross as Billy Flynn. Although the show was never as successful as the revival, the original involved more elaborate staging.

Return to the Forbidden Planet opens

Return to the Forbidden Planet opens

1989-09-18

The hit rock and roll musical delights audiences at the Cambridge Theatre, where it went on to win the Olivier Award for Best New Musical. The show ran for over 1500 performances, and even made a welcome return to the venue in December 1992. Based on Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' the production was directed by Bob Carlton, with choreography by Carole Todd. The cast included John Ashby, Christian Roberts and Alison Harding.

Fame - The Musical receives its stage premiere

Fame - The Musical receives its stage premiere

1995-06-27

The first stage production of 'Fame - the Musical' opens at the venue, where it continued to return to the West End throughout the next six years. Largely based on the successful Alan Parker film, the musical was a hit with audiences, but critics weren't so sold. The production at the Cambridge Theatre ran for over a year, and starred talent such as Sonia Swaby as Mabel, Scott Sherrin as Tyrone, Richard Dempsey as Nick and Josefina Gabrielle as Iris. The musical featured direction by Runar Borge and choreography by Lars Berthke.

The Beautiful Game opens

The Beautiful Game opens

2000-09-26

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Ben Elton's musical about the troubles in Northern Ireland opened and ran for just under a year. The show borrowed themes from 'Romeo and Juliet', using football as a backdrop to play out a dramatic story about the tensions between Protestants and Catholics. Lloyd Webber's score was universally praised, but Elton's lyrics and book were not celebrated. Songs and themes from the show found their way into later works such as 'Love Never Dies', and the whole musical has been re-written as 'The Boys in the Photograph' which premiered in Canada in 2009. The original cast included Hannah Waddingham, Diane Pilkington, Ben Goddard and David Shannon.

Our House the Musical opens

Our House the Musical opens

2002-10-28

The Madness musical 'Our House' opens at the Cambridge Theatre, where it went on to win the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical. The production was directed by Mathew Warchus and featured choreography by Peter Darling. The show was a jukebox musical set to the songs of Madness, and incorporated a story about teenagers living in London. The show struggled to find an audience despite mixed-to-positive reviews. The original cast starred Michael Jibson, Julia Gay, Lesley Nicol and Ian Reddington.

Jerry Springer - The Opera opens

Jerry Springer - The Opera opens

2003-11-10

The controversial opera based on the hit US TV show transferred from the National Theatre, sparking much debate due to its profane language and adult themes. Written and directed by comedian Stewart Lee, the show was a bold choice for the National, under new Artistic Director Nicholas Hytner. Having been developed from various Edinburgh Fringe performances, the West End production won four Olivier Awards including Best Musical, and was filmed for BBC television, causing yet more controversy. The original cast together won the Olivier Award for Best Supporting Performance. David Soul starred as Jerry Springer, alongside David Bedella, Benjamin Lake, Carrie Ellis, Leon Craig and Guy Porritt.  

Derren Brown opens at the Cambridge Theatre

Derren Brown opens at the Cambridge Theatre

2005-06-02

Derren Brown’s Something Wicked This Way Comes runs for a month at the Cambridge Theatre. This is the mentalist’s second stage show.

Chicago the Musical revival transfers to the Cambridge

Chicago the Musical revival transfers to the Cambridge

2006-04-01

After playing at the Adelphi Theatre for over 9 years, the now hit musical returned to its original London home at the Cambridge theatre, where it would stay for 5 years. The production was based on the Broadway revival, which featured choreography by Anna Reinking and direction by Walter Bobbie. The show was a hit with tourists, and was kept fresh by a number of celebrity replacements in the cast, including Claire Sweeney, Bonnie Langford, Jerry Springer and Marti Pellow. The show later transferred to the Garrick Theatre.

Chicago celebrates 10 years in the West End

Chicago celebrates 10 years in the West End

2007-12-05

Chicago holds a gala performance to celebrate a decade in the West End. Performers include include original London cast members, Ute Lemper, Ruthie Henshall and Henry Goodman, along with Brenda Edwards, Jennifer Ellison, Duncan James, Frances Ruffelle, Denise Van Outen.

Kelly Osbourne stars in Chicago

Kelly Osbourne stars in Chicago

2007-10-09

Kelly Osbourne joins the Chicago cast as Mama Morton, with Clive Rowe returning as Amos Hart. They join existing cast members Josefina Gabrielle (Roxie Hart), Annette McLaughlin (Velma Kelly).

Tony Hadley plays Billy Flynn

Tony Hadley plays Billy Flynn

2009-05-01

Spandau Ballet’s Tony Hadley plays Billy Flynn in Chicago for a limited run.

Chicago extends its run

Chicago extends its run

2008-12-22

Chicago announces that it is extending its booking period until 27 March 2010.

Major cast changes in Chicago

Major cast changes in Chicago

2008-06-02

Chicago has several major cast changes, with Anna Jane Casey (Velma Kelly), Victor McGuire (Amos Hart) and Sue Kelvin (Mama Morton) returning to the show. Suzanne Shaw also joins as 'Roxie Hart’.

Jerry Springer debuts in Chicago

Jerry Springer debuts in Chicago

2009-06-01

Talk show host Jerry Springer makes his West End debut as Billy Flynn in Chicago for a limited 6-week run.

Chicago extends their booking period

Chicago extends their booking period

2010-07-25

Chicago announces that they are extending their booking period through 30 April 2011.

Ruthie Henshall returns to Chicago

Ruthie Henshall returns to Chicago

2010-02-19

Ruthie Henshall, the original Roxie Hart from 1997 production of Chicago, returns to the role through 18 April.

Chicago closing and Matilda to transfer

Chicago closing and Matilda to transfer

2011-05-19

Chicago announces it is closing, and Matilda the Musical will open at the Cambridge Theatre later in the year.

David Bedella joins Chicago

David Bedella joins Chicago

2011-02-28

David Bedella joins the cast of Chicago as Billy Flynn for 10 weeks.

Matilda the Musical opens

Matilda the Musical opens

2011-11-24

The RSC's production of 'Matilda the Musical' opens at the Cambridge Theatre after a sell out run in Stratford Upon Avon. It wins the Olivier Award for Best New Musical amongst many others. Based on the Roald Dahl book of the same name, the show featured a modern score by Tim Minchin, and reunited director Matthew Warchus with choreographer Peter Darling. Bertie Carvel won much critical acclaim in the lead role of Miss Trunchbull, and transferred to Broadway where the show opened in 2013 at the Schubert Theatre.

Matilda announces a new cast

Matilda announces a new cast

2012-08-09

The RSC announces 4 new children will take over the title role in Matilda. Lucy-Mae Beacock, Hayley Canham, Chloe Hawthorn and Lara Wollington will share the role. New adult members joining the cast include Fabian Aloise, Charles Brunton, Billy Cullum, Joseph Davenport, Lara Denning, Mark Goldthorp, Jack Greaves, Madeleine Harland, Joshua Lay, Lucy Miller and Tommy Sherlock.

Matilda scoops seven Olivier Awards

Matilda scoops seven Olivier Awards

2012-04-15

Matilda the Musical swipes an impressive seven Olivier Awards at the 2012 ceremony, with the four Matildas: Cleo Demetriou, Kerry Ingham, Eleanor Worthington Cox and Sophia Kiely all scooping the Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical. Further awards went to Matthew Warchus for Best Director, Peter Darling for Best Choreographer, Bertie Carvel for Best Actor in a Musical, Rob Howell for Best Set Design and Simon Baker for Best Sound Design. Matilda also won the coveted Best New Musical Award.

Matilda wins Sky Arts Theatre Award

Matilda wins Sky Arts Theatre Award

2012-05-02

Matilda wins this year’s Sky Arts Theatre Award.

Matilda announces new adult cast members

Matilda announces new adult cast members

2013-08-07

James Clyde, Lisa Davina Phillip and Joshua Wyatt join the existing cast of Matilda.

Craige Els takes over as Trunchbull

Craige Els takes over as Trunchbull

2014-07-21

Craige Els is to take over the role of Miss Truchbull, joining James Clyde (Mr Wormwood), Haley Flaherty (Miss Honey) and Kay Murphy (Mrs Wormwood) in the cast of Matilda.

Matilda celebrates 5th birthday on West End

Matilda celebrates 5th birthday on West End

2016-11-02

Tim Minchin's Matilda celebrates 5 years of success on the West End. Matilda the Musical is now playing across the world, in the US and Australia. One of the current long-runners, Matilda shows no signs of shutting its doors!

Matilda announces new adult cast

Matilda announces new adult cast

2017-08-07

Matilda announces a new adult cast, featuring Gina Beck, David Shannon, Tom Edden and Marianne Benedict. They are joining Keisha Amponsa Banson, Richard Astbury, David Birch, Maria Graciano, Karina Hind, Peter Houston, Katie Lee, Vicki Lee Taylor, Kris Manuel, Bryan Mottram, Tom Muggeridge, Emma Robotham-Hunt, Simon Shorten, Biancha Szynal, Callum Train and Robert Tregoning.

The RSC announces new children in Matilda

The RSC announces new children in Matilda

2017-09-05

The RSC announces a new child cast for Matilda to start on 12 September. Lily-Mae Evans, Kitty Peterkin and Savannah Read will be playing the title role, with Bill Bekele, Joe Butler-Smith, Omar Cain-Francis, Halle Cassell, Lucy Cheesman, Liberty Greig, Lauren Henson, Callum Hudson, Vaidile Jonikas, Mia McLoughlin, Miller Morris, Palmer Newson, Rocco Peacock, Lottie Refet, Finn Richards, Martin Soosaipillai, Will Tarpey and Alex Wenham making up the rest of the youthful newcomers.

Matilda introduces ticket lottery

Matilda introduces ticket lottery

2018-03-05

Matilda the Musical announces a new online ticket lottery launching on 5 March 2018, with the best seats in the house just £25 for every performance.

Grease the Musical Opens

Grease the Musical Opens

1996-10-24

The revival production of Grease the Musical transfers from the Dominion Theatre, playing for over 2 years. The production was directed by David Gillimore with choreography by Arlene Phillips. This revival incorporated songs from the movie version, as well as the original stage version to create a brand new book. The show went on to enjoy numerous UK tours.

Kong - A Musical Play opens

Kong - A Musical Play opens

1931-01-01

The theatre stages its first musical, starring Oscar Asche and Ursula Jeans.