Theatre Royal Drury LaneThe Theatre Royal, Drury Lane is the oldest London Theatre; with a seating capacity of over 2,280 seats, it is also one of the largest! Since 1947 and the success of Oklahoma, the theatre has housed the best American musicals. For over 3 centuries, although destroyed a couple of times by fires and enemy bombs, its name has been synonymous with popular and spectacular shows.

The Drury Lane was first erected in 1662. The first company to occupy the theatre were considered as part of the Royal Household. Hence the members of the troupe were entitled to wear the scarlet and gold of the royal livery which is still worn by today's footmen. At this time, the entire theatre could seat 700 people and was about the size of today's stage. In 1672, the building was destroyed by a first fire!

The second theatre to stand on the exact same location was designed by Sir Christopher Wren who made it twice the size of the first theatre. The Drury lane was led into near bankruptcy when gambler Charles Fleetwood took over the management. In 1747, great English actor Garrick took over the management and spent the next 30 years in the theatre. He introduced better lightning and regular rehearsals.

In 1777, the celebrated playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan took over the management and introduced some of his own productions. However, by 1791, the building had fallen into such a bad state of decay that rather than going through complex refurbishment, it was decided to build another theatre in its place. This time, it was designed by Henry Holland who made the Drury Lane "Worthy of our opulence and taste". Unluckily, fifteen years later the theatre burned down for the second time!

Drury Lane was once again rebuilt! Designed by Benjamin Wyatt on the elegant neo-classical model of the Grand Theatre of Bordeaux, it reopened in 1812. Over the next few decades several improvements were made. Like the Queen's, part of the theatre was destroyed by enemy bombs in 1940. After important refurbishment work, it reopened to the public in December 1946.

The arrival of smash hit musical Oklahoma paved the way for really popular and spectacular musicals such as 42nd Street, Miss Saigon, The Producers, The Lord Of The Rings. The fact that Americans have found cheaper to see hit musical in London than on Broadway, and its ideal location just yards away from Covent Garden, will ensure that the Drury Lane keep housing shows to entertain audience from all over the world!