The Shaftesbury Theatre is one of six London Theatres located on Shaftesbury Avenue.
The theatre started life in 1914 as The Princes Theatre and was the last venue to be built on Shaftesbury Avenue near New Oxford Street, so is slightly separated from the other theatres.
The theatre underwent extensive changes in the early 1960s and was renamed the Shaftesbury Theatre in 1962. To mark the end of theatre censorship in 1968, the revolutionary musical Hair opened. It played for over 5 years and was about to celebrate its record-breaking 2000th performance when the need to carry out renovation work forced the Theatre to close its doors.
Only prolonged and passionate opposition from members of the Actors’ Union and members of the entertainment industry saved the building from redevelopment and it is now a Grade II listed building.
The Theatre reopened in 1974 and is known for staging original works of high calibre drama and quality musicals. The formation of ‘The Theatre of Comedy Company’, with some thirty leading actors, writers and directors in 1983, led to the Shaftesbury Theatre being purchased by them in 1984.