Apollo

2005

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.

Built / Converted
1901
Dates of use
  • 1901 : continuing
Current state
Extant
Current use
Theatre
Address
Shaftesbury Avenue, London, Westminster, W1D 7EZ, England
Further details
Other names
-
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
  • Capacity
    Original
    Description
    893
  • Capacity
    Current
    Description
    756
Listings
  • Listing
    II
Stage type
Proscenium Flat
Building dimensions: -
Stage dimensions: Depth: 8.89m (29ft)
Proscenium width: 9.14m (30ft)
Height to grid: 15.85m (52ft)
Inside proscenium: -
Orchestra pit: Original