The Shaftesbury Theatre opened as The Princes Theatre on Boxing Day in 1911 with a production of The Three Musketeers. It is the most recent theatre to be built on Shaftesbury Avenue, and is the largest independent theatre in West End. Under new management, the theatre had its name changed to the Shaftesbury Theatre in 1962, reopening with the Broadway musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
Despite damage to its ceiling in 1973, the theatre reopened the next year and hosted a long line of musical productions, the most successful of which was Hairspray, which ran for almost three years. The theatre also witnessed the incredible show, The Illusionists, starring seven world leading magicians including the UK’s Jamie Raven. The latest musical, Motown the Musical opened in March of 2016 and is still enjoying immense success. Also, here’s a handy link to the seat availability and real time prices for different seats/dates for Motwon The Musical London on Headout.
Address: 29 Shaftesbury Ave, Soho, London W1D 7ES, UK
Seating Capacity: 887
Dress Circle: 148
Upper Circle: 178
Seating Chart: Check out the Lyric Theatre London Seating Plan here.
Now Playing At The Lyric Theatre
Motown the Musical
Motown the Musical is a hit American musical that generated rave reviews after its Tony-nominated run on Broadway. It opened in 2016 in the West End’s Shaftesbury Theatre, and even celebrated its second birthday recently. The musical highlights one of the most incredible eras in soul music history, inspired by Berry Gordy’s autobiography “To Be Loved: The Music, The Magic, The Memories of Motown”.
Motown the Musical charts the tumultuous personal and professional relationships with musical icons Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, and many more. The show is performed by a dazzling 18-piece orchestra with over 50 Motown tracks like including “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, “I Heard It through the Grapevine”, and “My Girl”. The West End production of Motown the musical has garnered excellent reviews. What with its extraordinary cast and brilliant story, this is one musical you can’t afford to miss!
It’s 1983, at the 25th anniversary celebrations of Motown Records, the world’s biggest recording stars are gathered - but Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown Records, refuses to join the show. This musical tells Berry Gordy’s story, the man who went from being a featherweight boxer to a heavyweight music mogul despite starting out with just $800 in the bank. After Gordy’s meteoric rise to fame during the 1960’s, his record label began to draw in names like Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, though eventually they all began to leave him for better offers - in Diana Ross’s case, a 20 million dollar offer.
Gordy's music united the American people through good times and bad, and became a source of inspiration and support through the racial tensions that were present at the time. He went on to produce 110 top 10 hits from 1961 to 1971, and even released three of Martin Luther King’s speeches. Featuring Cedric Neal as Berry Gordy in his first West End production, as well as over fifty classics like ‘My Girl’, ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’, and ‘Dancing in the Streets’, this West End hit is just the show you need to keep you grooving.
Mon - Sat: 7:30 PM
Thu & Sat: 2:30 PM
2 hours and 30 minutes
While the Box Office and Royal Circle are on street level, the Royal Circle is the only area with accessible seating. Two wheelchair positions are available here, in Boxes F and E. Box B has level access followed by a two-step transfer. There are also two transfer positions in the Royal Circle, Row A, seats 4-5 and 32-33. When booking, be sure to state that if you are a wheelchair user so that the Box Office staff can ensure the best seats are available.
Assistive Listening System: The Theatre is equipped with an infrared system and headsets are available on request; the Front of House team will assist you on arrival if you require one, so be sure to speak to them!
Bar: The Shaftesbury Theatre has five bars in total; the Stalls Bar, Foyer Bar, Circle Bar, Royal Bar and Grand Bar. The Foyer Bar, which serves the Royal Circle, is accessible via ramp or 3 steps.
Cloakroom: There is a cloakroom at the theatre, where large bags and pushchairs can be checked in for £1.
Guide Dogs: The theatre allows guide and hearing dogs in the theatre. In case you deem the sound too loud, the theatre staff is happy to look after your dog.
Toilets: There are both male and female toilets accessible from every level of the theatre and these are situated in the Foyer, Stalls, Royal Circle and Grand Circle. There is one accessible toilet which is located in the Royal Circle.
- Make sure you book your tickets as soon as possible. The earlier you reserve your seats, higher the chances of you getting good seats at a decent price.
- 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.
- Booster cushions are available for children – be sure to ask a member of the staff if you require one!
- The theatre is air conditioned, so be sure to carry a light sweater in case it gets chilly.
Tube: The nearest tube stations to the Shaftesbury Theatre are Tottenham Court Road (Central and Northern lines) and Holborn (Central and Piccadilly lines).
For New Oxford St: 1, 8, 25, 98, and 242 For Cambridge Circus: 24, 29, and 176 (N279, N29)
Rail: The nearest stations are Euston and Charing Cross.
Restaurants near Shaftesbury Theatre London
1. Bó Drake: This place has a wide variety of food available from Korean fried chicken, pork belly bao and smoked pulled pork with kimchi, or even deserts like lemon yuzu tart, or green tea panna cotta with winter berries. Located on Soho’s Greek Street, this restaurant if perfect for a laid-back and casual meal before a show at The Shaftesbury, a mere 6 minutes away!
2. Native: If you’re up for traditional British food with a wild twist, this is the place to be. Try out Swaledale mutton, wood pigeon and the Douglas fir and millet cake, prepped with foraged ingredients. This minimalist restaurant is located 3 minutes away from the theatre.
3. Dalloway Terrace: Check out this restaurant for an intimate yet classy feel, set against the backdrop of literature, and design in the heart of historic Bloomsbury as you settle for a meal in this secret garden. Best of all, it’s just a four-minute walk from the Theatre!
4. Café Pacifico: For Mexican comfort food and a quick but delicious drink, Café Pacifico is the place for a delicious meal right before or after a show. It’s only a 6-minute walk from the Theatre after all!
More West End Guides
For more West End information, here are some helpful quick links!