Designed by C.J Philipps, the Lyric Theatre is the oldest of the six surviving theatres in Shaftesbury Avenue. It was built for Henry Leslie, who made fortune out of the comic opera Dorothy. Discrete, it is located just a few yards away from the Apollo Theatre and opened in December 1988 with the production of the opera at the origin of its creation.
The C.J Philipps interior, completely redecorated by Michel Rosenauer, dispenses the charm and atmosphere of a late Victorian playhouse. Giant Corinthian columns frame the boxes, attractive plasterwork decorates the large arch over the proscenium and a handsome pale green and gold circular ceiling encloses the auditorium.
The Lyric Theatre is one of the only theatres in London still using water to operate the iron curtain. In the old days, the water was pumped from the Thames to most theatres and hotels in the West End and used to operate lifts or other heavy machinery.
Productions at the Lyric Theatre includes various operettas in the early days and shows such as By Jeeves, Comic Potential, A busy Day, Brief Encounter, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Daisy Pulls It Off, Death Of a Salesman, Night of the Iguana and Cabaret.