Duchess Theatre Box Office
Address: Duchess Theatre, 3-5 Catherine Street, London, WC2B 5LA
Tube lines: Piccadilly
Nearest tube: Covent Garden
Directions from Covent Garden:
(5mins) Go right on Long Acre; turn right into Bow Street and after 100 metres turn left (Russell Street) then immediately right onto Catherine Street, where the theatre is located 100 metres down.
Nearest rail: Charing Cross
Bus routes: (Aldwych) RV1, 6, 11, 13, 23, 59, 68, 87, 171, 172, 188, X68
Night buses: (Aldwych) 6, 23, 188, N11, N13, N26, N47, N68, N87, N89, N155, N171, N551
Car park: Drury Lane, Parker Street (5mins)
In congestion zone?: Yes
Please note: The location shown on the map is an approximate location of the theatre. In the majority of cases the theatre will be marked on the map so please make sure you locate the exact location yourself. If the theatre is not shown on the map please make sure you locate the correct road name and take account of the directions.
What's On at the Duchess Theatre
Duchess Theatre Information
Temple (Circle and District lines)and Covent Garden (Piccadilly) are the closest tube stations to the theatre.
From Temple station, exit onto Temple Place and head up Surrey Street to the Strand. Turn left onto Strand and continue down to Aldwych, go up Aldwych until you come to Catherine Street on your left. Turn into Catherine street and continue until you see the theatre on your left.
Alternatively, exit Temple station on Victoria Embankment and head westward along the river until you reach Lancaster Place – turn right onto Lancaster Place and continue to Aldwych, from there directions are as above.
From Covent Garden underground station you can exit onto Long Acre and continue eastward to Bow Street, turn right onto Bow Street and continue onto Wellington Street and continue until you reach Tavistock Street. Turn left onto Tavistock Street, and then right onto Catherine Street and the theatre will be on your right hand side.
Alternatively from Covent Garden you can take the more scenic route through Covent Garden, through The Piazza and Covent Garden Market, continue for a short while on Southampton Street, turn left onto Tavistock Street and continue as above.
The mainline station at Charing Cross is less than ½ mile away, and City Thameslink is less than 1 mile away.
From Charing Cross, exit onto Strand and head eastwards along Strand until you reach Alwych, head up Aldwych until you come to Catherine Street on your left. Turn into Catherine Street and continue until you see the theatre on your left.
From City Thameslink head west on Fleet Street until you reach Aldwych, continue along until you come to Catherine Street on your right, turn into Catherine Street and continue until you see the theatre on your left.
If you are driving, there are NCP car parks at the following addresses:
Parker Street, Parker Mews, London, WC2B 5NT
St Martins Lane Hotel
45 St Martins Lane, London, WC2N 4HX
Selkirk House, Museum Street, London, WC1A 1JP
You can see these, and other NCP car parks on their website http://www.ncp.co.uk/
However, you can participate in the Q-Parks Theatreland Parking Scheme and get 50% off your parking costs by validating your parking ticket in the foyer at the theatre.
For more information on Q-Parks Theatreland Parking Scheme either call +44 (0)870 442 0104 or visit Q-Parks website http://www.q-park.co.uk/theatreland
The closest participating car park for the Duchess Theatre is at 20 Newport Place, London, WC2H 7PR or Spring Gardens, London SW1A 2TS.
The rates for both of these car parks are £6.50 per hour, up to 4 hours, and after that it is £38 for up to 24 hours.
Don't forget to pay the £11.50 (£1 less if you register, but that costs you £10 for a car) daily congestion charge for central London which applies from 7am to 6pm Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays, if you are driving into London.
Alternatively, plan your journey using Transport for London journey planner https://tfl.gov.uk/plan-a-journey/
In The Area
Cash/ATM – There is a Nat West cash machine at 65 Aldwych which is about 3 minutes from the theatre. There is also an HSBC branch at 16 King Street, which is approximately a 6 minute walk from the Duchess.
Eating – The Delaunay at 55 Aldwych gives all day dining options, from breakfast, all day a-la-carte, brunch at the weekends, afternoon tea and dinner. Spanish/Italian tapas is available from the Opera Tavern at 23 Catherine St. Cote Bistro is just on the next corner up from the theatre on Catherine St. Pretty much opposite Cote Bistro is Loch Fyne seafood grill. Next to the theatre is Bistro Italiano. So you can see there is no shortage of choice for eating before or after the show.
Drinking – Cellar Door, a basement cocktail bar is at Zero Aldwych and has nightly entertainment. Charles Dickens Coffee House is on Wellington Street, or Radio Rooftop Bar is at 336-337 Strand.
There are 4 levels within the auditorium is split on 4 levels, giving a total seating capacity of 482 seats. The theatre has a lounge bar.
Designed by Ewen Barr, constructed by F G Minter Ltd, for Arthur Gibbons, the stalls are below street level. The stage is framed by a proscenium arch which is like a picture frame, through which the audience see the stage. The Duchess Theatre is not only one of the smallest theatres in London's West End that has a proscenium arch, it is also one of the youngest of the West End theatres. The interior decoration was remodelled in 1934 under the supervision of J B Priestley's wife, Mary Wyndham Lewis and that is what we see today.
The Duchess Theatre opened in November 1929 with a play by Hubert Griffith called Tunnel Trench. A doubtful claim to fame of the theatre is that it hosted the shortest run in the history of London theatre when The Intimate Revue closed before it opened!
During the 1930s there were a number of J B Priestley plays on the stage at the theatre, including Laburnum Grove, Eden End, Cornelius, Time & The Conways. Ralph Richardson appeared in more than one of Priestley's plays and other notable actors included Frank Vosper, Jessica Tandy and Emlyn Williams as both author and star of Night Must Fall.
In 1942 Noel Coward's Blythe Spirit completed a run of nearly 2000 performances starring Margaret Rutherford. J B Priestley returned with The Linden Tree in 1947 for 400 performances.
The 1950s saw Thora Hird, Kenneth More and Peggy Ashcroft amongst others star on the stage at the Duchess Theatre.
Harold Pinter's first West End success, The Caretaker starring Donald Pleasence and Alan Bates took to the stage in 1960 and Good Night Mrs Puffin transferred to the Duchess in 1961. Also in 1961 Peter Saunders took over the lease on the building. Other successful productions during the 1960s included Agatha Christie's Rule of Three, Boeing Boeing, Wait Until Dark, Dames at Sea and The Old Ladies.
In 1974 Oh Calcutta! moved to the Duchess and made its home there for 6 years with nearly 4000 performances.
A revival of Noel Coward's Private Lives starring Maria Aitken and well known British TV, stage, film and Shakespearean actor Michael Jayston arrived at the theatre in 1980. In 1986 Stoll Moss Theatres bought the freehold to the building and they brought A Month of Sundays followed by No Sex Please We're British to the Duchess.
The 90s saw Run for Your Wife finish it's 9 year run in the West End, An Evening With Gary Lineker, and Don't Dress For Dinner for 4½ years, Maureen Lipman's one-woman stage show, a 10 week run for the Royal Shakespeare Company's The Unexpected Man and Alan Ayckbourn's Things We Do For Love transferred from the Gielgud Theatre.
Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber's theatre company, Really Useful Theatre Group, together with Bridgepoint Capital purchased Stoll Moss Theatres Ltd in January 2000.
Most recent productions at the theatre have included Underneath the Lintel, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Buddy, Plague Over England, Taking Sides, Collaboration and Sir Michael Gambon in Krapp's Last Tape & The Play That Goes Wrong, which is a very funny comedy play.
In 2005 Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer bought the Duchess, Apollo, Lyric and Garrick theatres and created Nimax Theatres.