Novello Theatre is a famous West End Theatre located on Aldwych. The Novello has a very rich history, and interestingly enough, has undergone many name changes. It opened as ‘The Waldorf’ in 1905, before being renamed ‘The Strand Theatre’ in 1909. Just a short 2 years later, the name was changed to the ‘Whitney Theatre’, before becoming ‘The Strand Theatre’ again in 1913. This name stuck on for 92 years, till 2005, when the theatre got its current name - ‘Novello Theatre’.
The name of the theatre is in remembrance of Ivor Novello, a prominent and influential British composer, actor, and playwright. Between 1913 and 1951, Ivor Novello actually lived in Aldwych, over the theatre, where he came up with and wrote many of his memorable musicals, including the hit - “Keep the Home Fires Burning”.
The Novello Theatre has played host to number of sell-out productions, including the black comedy ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’, ‘Sailor Beware’, Stephen Sondheim’s ‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum’, ‘No Sex Please, We’re British’, ‘As You Like It’ by the Royal Shakespeare Company, and many others. Currently playing at the theatre is the world-famous ‘Mamma Mia!’, which was transferred from the Prince of Wales Theatre to the Novello in 2012.
Address: Aldwych, London WC2B 4LD, UK
Seating Capacity: 1110
Seating Chart: Check out the Novello Theatre London Seating Plan here.
Now Playing at the Novello Theatre
Mamma Mia is a sensational jukebox musical and is based on the songs of ABBA, a Swedish pop group formed in 1972, which became one of the world’s most successful music acts! Two of the members of ABBA, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, actually composed the music for the production and the name ‘Mamma Mia!’ is actually taken from the group’s 1975 chart-topper of the same name.
The musical debuted in 1999 at the Prince Edward Theatre and was subsequently transferred to the Prince of Wales Theatre in 2004. Finally in 2012, the show was moved to the Novello Theatre, where it has been running ever since. Mamma Mia! is the fifth longest running show on London’s West End, and has been viewed by over 60 million people in 22 different languages.
Set in late 19th century France at the time of the French revolution, Les Misérables is the timeless tale of love, loss, retribution, and redemption. The story follows Jean Valjean, a former criminal released from prison, who is trying to shed his ex-convict status and become Mayor, despite being hounded by policeman Javert. Along his way, he meets Fantine, who has turned to prostitution after being fired from working in one of his factories. Upon her deathbed he vows to take care of her daughter Cosette. Soon, Cosette is a grown woman and falls in love with young revolutionary Marius, and Valjean is forced to protect his family. All these plot threads come together spectacularly in the thrilling finale.
Mon - Sat: 7:45 PM
Thu & Sat: 3 PM
2 hours and 35 mins, with 1 intermission
Wheelchair users can access the theatre through Catherine Street. The theatre provides transfer seats for one wheelchair per performance. Transfer seats are available at A23 and A24 in the Dress Circle. Please note that it is required that each wheelchair bring a non-disabled companion. Customers who can't transfer from their wheelchair can use Dress Circle seats AA 10-11.
Assistive Listening System: There is an Infrared system within the theatre.
Bar: The Novello Theatre has 4 licensed bars: Sam’s Bar in the Foyer, Ivor's Bar in the Stalls, the Schubert Bar at Dress Circle level and the Waldorf Bar, which serves the Grand Circle and Balcony.
Cloakroom: There is a cloakroom at the theatre, where large bags and pushchairs can be checked in for £1.
Guide Dogs: Assistance dogs are allowed inside the auditorium. Alternatively, the Theatre Management team can look after them during the show.
Toilets: There are male and female toilets on each level of the theatre. The access adapted toilets can be accessed from the Dress Circle.
- Make sure you book your tickets well in advance. Mamma Mia! Is a very popular show and it often gets sold out week in advance. It is recommended you book your tickets earlier to avoid disappointment.
- Ensure that you come on time for your show. Most West End shows do not entertain latecomers and the few that do, expect you to be as quiet as a mouse as you try to find your seats. Better to save yourself and others the trouble and be there at least 10-15 minutes before the show.
- Dress well for the occasion. Although there is no particular dress code as such, it is recommended to come dressed well for a West End show. If you are attending a matinee show, you may be inclined to dress casually, however, if you are going for an evening show, you would be better off dressing in smart casuals.
- Food and drinks in plastic containers are allowed inside the theater, however, hot food is prohibited, as are glass containers. Drinks purchased at the bar must be transferred into plastic cups before entering the auditorium.
- There are several shops within the theatre which sell confectionary and merchandise.
Tube: The nearest tube stations to the theater are Covent Garden (Piccadilly Line), Holborn (Central and Piccadilly lines), and Charing Cross (Northern and Bakerloo lines).
Bus: For buses to Aldwych and the Strand - RV1, X68 1, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 23, 59, 68, 98, 171, 172, 176, 243, 341.
Rail: The nearest railway station is Charing Cross.
Restaurants near Novello Theatre London
1. Four to Eight: Serving up delicious Italian fare, this quaint little restaurant is the perfect pre-theatre pit stop.
2. STK London: Perfect for the meat lovers, this place offers patrons juicy steaks, mouth-watering lobster mac ‘n’ cheese and other amazing concoctions. Please note that this place has a strict dress code.
3. Afternoon Tea at One Aldwych: Take it up a different notch with this quintessential British experience. Enjoy piping hot tea with delicious cakes, pastries, and sandwiches.
4. Boulevard Brasserie: This classy little restaurant serves up traditional French and European food and is very popular with the locals here.
More West End Guides
For more West End information, here are some helpful quick links!