The Fortune Theatre is one of the smallest and newest theatres in London’s West End, located on Russell Street near Covent Garden. It only has 432 seats and is spread over 3 levels. The Stalls are on the same level as the stage, the Dress Circle is the first balcony; and the Upper Circle is the balcony about the Dress Circle. There are good quality seats available throughout the theatre for varying prices, but all seats feel close to the stage due to the auditorium’s small size. The Fortune Theatre is the current home of The Woman in Black which claims to be ‘the most terrifying live theatre experience in the world’.
The Stalls has 11 rows (A – L) divided into two unequal sections by an aisle. The smaller block (on the right as you look at the stage) may feel more removed from the action on stage. There are two pillars at the ends of rows D and K, but these restricted view seats are priced accordingly. The floor slopes down towards the stage so audience members further back have clear views. Some of the The Woman in Black is staged in the auditorium so the Stalls is the best place to sit if you want to better experience the scares. Chose a seat next to the aisle if you’re feeling really brave. However, asthma sufferers should avoid the first few rows because the show uses a smoke machine. There are no seats in front of seats B8-12, so choose these for more leg room.
The Dress Circle
As with the Stalls, the Dress Circle is split into two blocks with the aisle separating seat 1-5 from the rest of the rows. Legroom throughout the Dress Circle isn’t generous, with row A being the narrowest. There is marginally more legroom as you move further back in the Dress Circle. The metal safety rail running along the front of the balcony restricts views in rows A and B. The larger block of seating offers a good view from C to F. F17 may be occupied by wheelchair users who are able to transfer to a seat. There are two boxes either side of the auditorium with movable seats which offer more room, but they have a side on view of the stage.
The Upper Circle
The Upper Circle is split into two uneven blocks in a similar layout to the Dress Circle. Legroom is especially poor this high up, particularly in row A. The safety rail is quite high in front of row A so it may be obstructive, but these seats are priced accordingly. The middle of row D has the best view in the Upper Circle. Rows G and F are the furthest away from the stage.
Is The Woman in Black suitable for children?
The show has an age 12 and upwards guidance rating due to the frightening content, and children under 5 will not be admitted.
How accessible is the theatre?
There are no steps into the main entrance from Russell Street. There are 21 steps down to the Stalls, 7 up to the Dress Circle and 40 to the Upper Circle. All of the stairs have handrails. If you need to discuss specific access requirements please ring the Fortune Theatre access line on 0800 912 6971.
Are there wheelchair facilities?
There is one space for wheelchair users. Seats F16-17 can be removed to create space for a person who uses a wheelchair. Box A, which is accessible through a side fire exit, has 5 steps. Box A has an access toilet nearby (see the ‘where are the toilets?’ section below). Wheelchair users who wish to transfer have several seat options in the Dress Circle.
Can I bring a guide dog?
Guide dogs are not allowed in the main auditorium because of the loud sound effects, but they are welcome to stay in the theatre foyer with a member of staff.
Are there deaf or hard of hearing facilities?
The Fortune Theatre is fitted with an infra-red sound system; to access it please visit the Box Office on arrival and speak to a member of staff. They can provide you with an induction loop necklace if you have a hearing aid, or a headset which amplifies the sound in a similar fashion to normal headphones.
Where are the toilets?
There are ladies’ toilets on all 3 levels and male toilets in the Stalls and Upper Circle. There is an access toilet near Box A.