The Theatres Trust

Apollo (London)

Details

The Apollo, externally, is quite unlike any other theatre of its time in London. Its architectural and historic significance is underestimated. Together with the Lyric, the Gielgud and the Queens, all grouped on the north side of Shaftesbury Avenue, the Apollo contributes to one of London’s most important Theatreland streetscapes. This was Sharp’s only complete theatre (he made major alterations to Camberwell Palace in 1908). The main facade is in a free Renaissance style with a distinct Art Nouveau flavour; Portland stone, in three main storeys with a tall attic above the cornice; three major bays, the outer two treated as pavilions with flat canted fronts around which the main cornice breaks. Prettily framed oeil-de-boeuf windows to the attic, heavy cornice, balcony with shouldered and eared architraves to windows. The pavilion attics are treated as short, flat-domed towers with striking figure sculpture (pairs of winged female Muse figures with flowing drapery) by T Simpson. Well restored iron and glass canopy over entrance with timber and glass front entrance doors. Flank and rear facades in red brick. Lively auditorium with splendid plaster enrichment in Louis XIV manner, updated by Shaufelberg in 1932 to include, amongst others, pendant light and proscenium sconces. Three cantilever balconies terminating in elaborately modelled serpentine-fronted boxes. A riot of decorative plasterwork including Phoenix, atlantid, mythical sea monsters and musical instruments. Bolection moulded panels on three levels. Also Putti, heraldic lions and touch of life motifs and mahogany doors throughout. Proscenium arch with bold architrave moulding, lyre-buckled at intervals. Relief of Apollo and Muses in tympanum over proscenium. Finely enriched oval ceiling on pendatives. Decorative foyer and anteroom to Royal Box. Modern stalls bar.


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Auditorium at the Apollo Theatre, London, 2007
© Ian Grundy

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Detail of ceiling at the Apollo Theatre, London, 2007
© Ian Grundy


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Balcony of the Apollo Theatre, London, 2007
© Ian Grundy

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Ceiling of the Apollo Theatre, London, 2007
© Ian Grundy


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Auditorium at the Apollo Theatre, London, 2007
© Ian Grundy

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Boxes at the Apollo Theatre, London, 2007
© Ian Grundy

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  • Events
    • Owner/Management: For licensees up to 1950, see Diana Howard, op cit.
    • 1901 Use: continuing
    • 1901 Design/Construction:
      • Lewen Sharp with H van Hooydonk - Architect
    • 1901 Design/Construction:
      • H van Hooydonk - Consultant: Auditorium Decoration
      • T Simpson - Consultant: Façade Sculpture
    • 1932 Alteration: altered internally
      • Ernest Shaufelberg - Architect
    • 1975 Owner/Management: Stoll Moss Theatres
    • 1991 Alteration: old box office removed; minor alterations within entrance
      • Paul Jenkins (Stoll Moss house architect) - Architect
    • 2005 Owner/Management: Nimax Theatres
  • Capacities
    • Original: 893
    • Current: 756
  • Listings
    • Grade II
  • Stage type
    • Proscenium Flat
  • Dimensions
    • Stage dimensions: Depth: 8.89m (29ft)
    • Proscenium width: 9.14m (30ft)
    • Height to grid: 15.85m (52ft)
    • Orchestra pit: Original
  • Unreliable anecdotes
    Distinguish from Apollo Victoria (formerly New Victoria)

Of the period

Auditorium at Morecambe Winter Gardens, 1996
Morecambe Winter Gardens
Morecambe

Have you seen?

Auditorium and stage at Tameside Hippodrome, 2012
Tameside Hippodrome
Ashton-under-Lyne

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