Wyndham's Theatre



  • An intimate London theater in the Charing Cross Road. The Marquessof Salisbury allowed it to be built on his land because he admiredthe actor-manager Sir Charles Wyndham, who opened the venue in 1899.The architect William Sprague designed the 759-seat theater in Louis XVIstyle; the bust over the proscenium is said to be of the actress Mary Moore,Wyndham's wife. The opening production, a revival of Tom Robertson'sDavid Garrick, was followed in 1900 by Henry Arthur Jones'sMrs Dane's Defence, which ran for over 200 performances.

    Frank Curzon, who became manager in 1903, was joined the followingyear by Gerald Du Maurier. In 1916 they produced J. M. Barrie's AKiss for Cinderella and the next year his Dear Brutus.Tallulah Bankhead made her sensational London debut therein 1923 in The Dancers. From 1926 to 1932 Wyndham's producedsix thrillers by Edgar Wallace, after which the management was takenover by Wyndham's son, Howard, and his stepson, Sir Bronson Albery.

    Post-war successes included James Bridie's DaphneLaureola (1949) with Edith Evans and Peter Ustinov's The Loveof Four Colonels (1951) with the playwright in the lead. Transfershave also provided hits: The Boyfriend, which tranferred from thePlayers' Theatre in 1954 had a record-breaking run of 2084 performances atWyndham's. Shelagh Delaney's A Taste of Honey (1958), BrendanBehan's The Hostage (1959), and Oh, What a Lovely War!(1963) all transferred from Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop.Transfers from Broadway have included Godspell in 1972 andSide by Side by Sondheim in 1976.

    In 1978 Ian Albery, the great-grandson of Mary Moore, becameWyndham's new manager. His great success of the 1980s was DarioFo's Accidental Death of an Anarchist, which opened in 1980for 622 performances. A still greater success was enjoyed by Yasmin Reza'sArt, which opened in October 1996 and ran for over 2000 performancesbefore transferring to the Whitehall in 2001. The theater has undergone amajor refurbishment since being acquired by the Delfont Mackintosh groupin 2005. In 2008 the Donmar Warehouse company began a year-long season at Wyndham's with a much praised revival of Ivanov, with Kenneth Branagh in the title role. The theater is currently showing themusical Avenue Q, which transferred from the Gielgud in 2010.