The Leicester Square Theatre (formerly The Venue)
, is a 420-seat studio theatre
in Leicester Square
, in the City of Westminster
, London, which opened in 2002 with the premier of Boy George
. The building originated as the Notre Dame Hall
in 1953, replacing an earlier building that had been destroyed by World War II
bombing. It was used as a French cultural centre, until the 1970s when the hall became a venue for punk music. This use for live music and as a dance hall, continued until it was converted to a theatre in 2001.
Prior to 1988 there was a cinema
known as The Leicester Square Theatre
. This still exists and is now known as the Odeon West End
The theatre is open-plan with grandstand-style seating, flexible staging and is situated beneath the Notre Dame French Catholic Church.
Among its famous productions have included the world premiere of the Boy George musical Taboo
which played a highly successful run before transferring to Broadway, Round The Horne
and two seasons of the cult hit Australian comedy The Vegemite Tales
. The venue is a popular place for stand-up comedy and small musical productions as well as plays and comedies. American comedian Joan Rivers
made her acting debut in August 2008 with her new play, Joan Rivers: A Work in Progress by a Life in Progress
which played a total of 75 performances to celebrate her birthday. Leicester Square Theatre is owned and run by Artistic director Martin Witts.