Our gorgeous Edwardian, Grade II listed building has proudly stood on Wimbledon's Broadway since 1910, (originally being named Wimbledon Theatre). But why do South Westerners love our angel of the Broadway so much?
First and foremost visitors cannot get enough of New Wimbledon's stunning architectural beauty. Since its initial construction by entrepreneur J B Mullholland, designed by Cecil Aubrey Massey and Roy Young, the venue seems to have become a treasure for locals. Their affection grow as the years pass by, explicitly seen in their support to reopen our theatre after it was forced to close in 2003 following some refurbishments in the 1990s.
'It has a beautiful facade with a little dome on the top. It's on a busy road but inside all seems calm and you can't hear the traffic at all. This looks like an Art Nouveau building and there's a lot of impressive intricate details around the theatre.'
Not only does our home consist of a beautiful Edwardian auditorium decorated in both Georgian and Italian renaissance styles across its three levels of seating, it has a capacity of over 1,600 (making it the eighth largest theatre in London). Our distinct, golden Laetitia, the Roman Goddess of Gaiety on top of our dome, is often referred to as an angel, giving us the name 'the angel of the Broadway'. However the statue has not always been in place, it was removed in World War II probably thought to be a direction finding device for German bombers. In 1990 a new 'angel' was commissioned to replace the exquisite feature.
The venue is not only rich with physical beauty and history, we also have some quite well esteemed claims to fame. In 2008 we hosted Prince Charles' 60th Birthday. Before that, we saw the premieres of both Lionel Bard's Oliver and Tommy Steel in Half A Sixpence, as well as hosting Laurel and Hardy for a week in 1945. Marlene Dietrich also played her last performance in our auditorium, with the musical direction of Burt Bacharach.
Did you know we also have an adjoining, fringe-style, black box space? It's currently termed our Time and Leisure Studio, the space not only hosted the London premiere of Arthur Miller's only musical ever written Up in Paradise, it was also used as a rehearsal room by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, the sprung floor still remains under our current one. Nowadays it plays host to a range of smaller pieces; from works in progress, new musicals and cinema screenings to comedy nights, music events and community usage. We also have own regular jazz, (Jazz in a Broad Way) and comedy, (Laughing Boy) clubs.
New Wimbledon's programming is carefully curated with our audience in mind. We play host to a range of performance genres from concerts, comedians and musicals to ballets, operas and plays, whilst firmly remaining 'the Home of London Pantomime', an annual delight. We believe in providing West End quality performances that are good value for money, whilst remaining a local venue, for a heart-warming, personalised experience.
'an ideal venue for the more intimate concert, just big enough to pay for a bit of quality but not cavernous so that you feel disconnected from the acts'
Therefore, visitor's love not only the intimacy of our abode, but the fact that no matter where you are sitting you can still connect with the magic of the performance unravelling before you, not only for the reason that it is of a certain quality but because of our exquisitely designed auditorium providing an excellent view in all instances.
'the productions are professional polished and great fun. Easy to get in and out, great interior and friendly helpful staff'
Did you know our theatre's first ever production to open it in 1910 was Jack and Jill? And since then, we've been making Panto history, becoming the first ever theatre to do Sunday pantomime performances in 1980 and in 2010 Peter Pan was the venue's highest ever grossing production. Over the years star performers have included: John Barrowman, Henry 'The Fonz' Winkler, Joanna Page, Gareth Gates, Ross Kemp, Brian Blessed, Ruby Wax, Anita Dobson, Paul O'Grady, Louie Spence, Priscilla Presley, Al Murray and Baywatch stars Pamela Anderson and David Hasselhoff in their much publicised pantomime debuts.
'What a lovely venue, friendly staff, great view from anywhere in the building - always a big star every year, definitely the best place to watch a Christmas Panto!'
It is important for us that we not only get the programming right for our audiences but that we engage, involve and enrich them, this is why we run a Creative Learning programme, holding bespoke workshops, Q&As, engaging in outreach and providing work experience opportunities. Regularly hosting, as a result, our Wimbledon Singing Club and Adult Acting Master Classes as well as our summer Stage Experience for 11-18 year olds, returning this year in the form of Guy and Dolls JR. (17-18th August). Alongside this we also offer Theatre Tours to help you, our local community, really explore our lesser known secrets.
From the audience comments you've already read, you can tell we have friendly and professional staff who quite clearly excel at their jobs.
'the staff at the New Wimbledon Theatre are really friendly people'
That's simply because we are only willing to work with those people that are eager to go the extra mile in making sure each customer gets a unique experience that they can treasure forever.
'Stunning venue, wonderful service!'
Furthermore we provide our staff with basic training in various access and disability needs in order to be well equipped to aid any patrons requiring that little extra bit of help effectively. We pride ourselves in our ability and aim to provide theatre for all, by making our venue as accessible as possible.
On top of these facilities available for use at ALL performances in the main house, our Time and Leisure Studio is also accessible with a lift going from the ground floor to the auditorium. In addition to this, we do on occasion play host to signed, audio-described and relaxed performances, as well as touch tours. An online resource is even available to download, A Visual Story, to help anyone that needs to prepare or know what to expect before visiting.
But what locals love the most about our theatre is the convenience of it, you don't have to travel into the hectic centre of London for West End performances when you visit us.
'It's easy to park next to the theatre so making it convenient. Lots of restaurants nearby'
Wimbledon is the host of a vibrant cultural and commercial scene, there's plenty of places to eat beforehand and a sparkling night life to follow. So its travel that is the best part, it's just so easy.
If you are new to us we welcome you to New Wimbledon Theatre and look forward to seeing you soon. If you are an old hat when it comes to us, don't be a stranger, come back again soon!
Click here to view all shows at New Wimbledon Theatre.