The Novello Theatre was built in 1905 as a twin to the Aldwych Theatre, a short distance away. It was previously known as The Strand Theatre before changing its name to to honour the musician Ivor Novello who lived in a flat above the venue. The theatre seats just over 1200 audience members on four levels. It feels quite high and gives a variety of different views of the stage.
The Stalls are the closest to the stage. There is no central aisle, and the whole block of seats is made up of relatively short rows, extending far back from the stage. The section is well raked, giving clear views over the heads of the audience in front. The majority of the section is priced the same, with Premium seats around the central section (rows G-L seats 7-20) offering the best overall views of the stage. The Dress Circle overhang of the Stalls begins at row J which starts to affect the view from row S. This means that views from the very back of the auditorium are restricted, but usually cheaper in price.
The Dress Circle
The Dress Circle is the first level up from the stage, and offers excellent views of the action. There are two slip rows (rows AA and BB) that run the length of the balcony and follow the curve of the auditorium, giving restricted views of the stage. The main body of seats (rows A-K) have no central aisle and again feel quite narrow. There is a slight curve to each row, meaning that seats at the extreme ends of the row look at the stage from an angle rather than directly at it. The section is again raked well, giving clear views over the heads of the audience in front. The final two rows are restricted by the overhang of the Grand Circle, but the price of tickets usually reflects this.
The Grand Circle
The Grand Circle is smaller than the Dress Circle, but similar in shape and layout. There is a slip row along the sides of the level that looks across the stage. These seats have restricted leg room and restricted views. The rows all have a slight curve, meaning those on the extreme ends look across at the stage slightly rather than directly at it. A safety rail runs along the balcony which can affect the view for those in the front section. The bar is double in height at the ends of the row, which restricts the view from some of the seats in row A.
The Balcony is the highest section in the theatre and feels extremely high up and far from the stage. There are only six short rows in this section, with no central aisle. Seats are not as comfortable as elsewhere in the theatre and the legroom can feel quite tight. There is a large safety bar that runs the full length of the balcony, which affects the view from the first two rows.
Where are the best seats for children at the Novello Theatre?
The most child-friendly seats at the Novello are in the front and centre of the Stalls and the Dress Circle. Children prefer to have a clear, uninterrupted view and will focus most effectively if they can see clearly. Central seats in each row give the best overall view of the stage, but due to the lack of central aisle in this venue these seats are less accessible.
Where are the Restricted View seats?
There are several sections of seats at the Novello Theatre that views that are restricted to some extent.
Stalls: The 4 seats adjacent to the tech desk in rows W and X have slightly restricted views.
Dress Circle: The seats in the Slips (row AA) are all slightly, moderately or very restricted. The ends of all main rows are moderately restricted.
Grand Circle: The Slips (row AA) are all slightly, moderately or very restricted. The ends of all main rows are moderately restricted.
Balcony: The ends of all rows are slightly restricted due to the safety rail.
What if I am hard of sight of hearing?
The Novello Theatre is fitted with a Sennheiser infrared system, and headsets are available from the front of house staff. Guide dogs are welcome in the theatre and can be looked after by theatre staff if necessary.
How many steps are there in the theatre?
The foyer is up 8 steps from street level. There are two alternative entrances to the theatre from Catherine Street. One entrance has 9 steps down as well as a stair-lift that leads to level access once inside the venue. The other entrance has only 4 steps down to the theatre. Once inside there are 32 steps down to the Stalls, 7 steps up to the Dress Circle and 40 steps to the Upper Circle.
Where are the toilets located?
There are male and female toilets located on all levels of the theatre. Accessible toilets are located on the Dress Circle level next to the Catherine Street entrance.
Where are the bars located?
There is a stair-lift that accesses Sam's Bar from the Dress Circle level. Drinks can also be brought to patrons in the auditorium.
Are there wheelchair facilities in the theatre?
Wheelchair seats are in A23 and 24 in the Dress Circle, as well as AA10 and 11. Companion seats are also available, as well as transfer seating throughout this section.