Dominion Theatre, initially a cinema, is a West End theatre located on Tottenham Court Road, close to St Giles Circus and Centre Point, in the London Borough of Camden.
Construction of The Dominion began in March 1928 with a design by W and TR Milburn and a budget of £460,000. The site was the location of the former Horse Shoe Brewery, which was the site of the 1814 London Beer Flood. The first performance was 3 October 1929.
The Tottenham Court Road façade features a ground level entry sheltered by a broad marquee with the second through fourth levels framed by large pilasters. The central portion is concave and faced with Portland stone. A three-bay bow window extends the height of the second and third storeys and is surmounted by sculpture of two griffins. Behind the griffin statue are three square openings which hold decorative iron grates. The griffins were removed in 1932 to mount an airplane for the musical Silver Wings. The remainder of the bow window was hidden during the run of We Will Rock You by a large shimmer curtain and statue of Freddie Mercury. These elements were reinstalled as part of the restoration. In addition to restoring the Tottenham Court Road façade, the stonework and windows of the dressing room block at the rear of the theatre were cleaned and replaced.
When the Dominion was built, it was linked to the building on Great Russell Street now known as Nederlander House. This building had been separated from the theatre and rented as office space for many decades. In 2011, the Dominion spent £200K reinstating the connection between the theatre, with this building returning to its use that the original theatre builders intended. It is now home to the theatre management offices plus a refurbished Boardroom space on the top floor. This Boardroom is marked as such on the original 1929 plans and it is now being hired out by the theatre's Dominion Events department for meeting, training and conference bookings. Other areas above the main foyer, which the Rank Organisation converted to office space, have been restored and now house 'The Studio' a rehearsal and audition space.
The auditorium currently has a seating capacity of 2,069 in two tiers of galleries, down from the 1940 capacity of 2,858 following the closure many decades ago of the upper circle. The theatre retains its 1920s light fittings and art deco plasterwork.
After initial success, including the London premiere of Charlie Chaplin's City Lights in February 1931, with Chaplin himself attending, the theatre began a financial slide until the company was liquidated 30 May 1932. In 1933, Associated Provincial Picture Houses assumed control of the facility and adapted the auditorium for films. In 1940, Associated became part of the Rank Organisation.
The Dominion temporarily closed because of the Blitz early in October 1940 and reopened on 12 January 1941. Its first major live show was The Judy Garland Show which ran for a month in 1957 and it has been a popular venue for musical theatre since. Soon after, the theatre received a Todd-AO system with two Philips 70mm / 35mm projectors and a 45 feet (14 metre) wide screen.
After World War II, the theatre hosted both movies and live shows. Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific opened 21 April 1958 and played four years and 22 weeks. In 1963, Elizabeth Taylor appeared at the European opening of Cleopatra which played for almost two years. On March 29th 1965 The Sound Of Music film was screened here until June 29th 1968, The longest run of screenings of the film at any venue in the world.
During the 1980s, it became a popular venue for music concerts. It was where Tangerine Dream recorded its album Logos in 1982, which contains a tribute tune called "Dominion". Dolly Parton filmed her 1983 concert at the Dominion and released it as a television special, Dolly in London. Other performers to appear during this era included Duran Duran, Adam and The Ants, Billy Bragg, Bon Jovi, The Boomtown Rats, Boy George, David Bowie, Ian Drury and the Blockheads, Manfred Mann, Sinead O’Connor, Thin Lizzy, U2 and Van Morrison. In 1986, the Dominion hosted the musical Time, whose producers altered the interior extensively to accommodate the production.
Since the early 1990s the Dominion has hosted several musicals including a new production of Grease by David Ian and Paul Nicholas, Scrooge: The Musical, Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake, Disney's Beauty and the Beast, a return of Grease, and Notre Dame de Paris. Bernadette The Musical, by Maureen and Gwyn Hughes, played briefly in 1990. The Dominion hosted the Royal Variety Performance 1992 through 1996 and in 2000 and 2001.
In 2002, the hit stage musical We Will Rock You, based on the songs of Queen, created by Queen guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor together with British comedian Ben Elton opened. The show was scheduled to close in October 2006 before embarking on a UK tour, but due to popular demand was extended indefinitely. In 2012, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of We Will Rock You, the theatre created the Freddie Mercury Suite, which displays pictures from the Queen singer's lifetime. This area was previously housed memorabilia of Judy Garland. In March 2014, producers announced that We Will Rock You would close June 2014.
The Theatre played host to a "re-imagined" production of Jeff Wayne's Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds from February to April 2016 and featured direction by Bob Thompson, an onstage orchestra conducted by Jeff Wayne and Liam Neeson as the Journalist in 3D holography.
The Dominion has had a variety of owners during its history. The Rank Organisation and Apollo Leisure operated it from 1988 to 1999. In 1999, SFX Entertainment acquired Apollo Leisure and in 2001 Clear Channel Entertainment, part of the US based multinational, purchased SFX. Clear Channel spun-off its venues as Live Nation UK who operated Clear Channel's venues on behalf of the Nederlander Organization. On 23 October 2009 the Nederlander Organization took full control of the venue, purchasing Live Nation's portion of ownership.
The Dominion was home to the long-running musical We Will Rock You played at the theatre from 14 May 2002 until 31 May 2014. It was also home to the London auditions of Britain's Got Talent and from February to April 2016 to War of the Worlds.
Over several years, the theatre has undergone a rolling programme of refurbishment which has included reclaiming the area above the main foyer as a studio for rehearsals or events (2008), and reclaiming the offices in Nederlander House, which were originally part of the theatre but had been rented as commercial office space. Within this area, originally listed on the theatre plans as a 'Boardroom', a new Boardroom space has been created (2011). Following the closure of We Will Rock You, the theatre remained dark for 15 weeks, during which time owners undertook a mass programme of refurbishment, including replacing carpets, painting and restoring architectural features, refurbishing seats, renovating the 'front of house' toilets and bars, and updating much of the backstage facilities, including the flying system. This £6 million restoration programme was completed in 2017 with the unveiling of a brand new double-sided LED screen, the largest and highest resolution projecting screen on the exterior of a West End theatre.
Since re-opening on 16 September 2014, the Dominion Theatre has been home to a number of short run musicals and spectaculars, including Evita (September 2014), White Christmas (November 2014), Lord of the Dance (March 2015) and the London premiere of Elf (October 2015). Since March 2017, the Dominion Theatre is home to An American in Paris, with booking extending to January 2018.
In addition to hosting musicals in recent years, the theatre has also hosted a number of regular charity events, including MADTrust's West End Eurovision (2012, 2013, 2014) and West End Heroes (2013, 2014, 2015). The brainchild of current General Manager, David Pearson, 'West End Heroes' was produced by the theatre and brought together stars from current West End Shows, with musicians, from all the armed forces. The second event, in 2014, was hosted by Michael Ball. The Dominion is also currently home to Hillsong Church every Sunday.
The Dominion Theatre is committed to making the experience of all patrons as easy and enjoyable as possible. During performance times, at least one member of Front of House staff is dedicated to assisting those with access needs. They will help patrons to their seats, obtain refreshments on their behalf if requested and will return wheelchairs and mobility devices as and when required. If you are not immediately approached on arrival to the theatre, please make yourself known to a member of their door staff.
To book tickets or discuss access requirements, please call them on 020 7927 0929 or email firstname.lastname@example.org including your telephone number, performance date and time, and access requirements. The access line is answered 10am – 6pm, Monday – Friday and 12pm- 6pm on bank holidays. Access bookings can also be made in person at the theatre box office. Please be aware that there may be a limited number of tickets available at the access rate per performance.
Access at the Dominion Theatre.
The entrance to the theatre is at street level with step-free access and double width doors. It is fully accessible for wheelchairs. The Box Office counter is situated inside the foyer to the left and is located under the staircase. There are 9 steps down to the foyer with handrails in place. Due to the number of stairs leading to the Circle and inside the auditorium, we do not recommend Circle seating for patrons with restricted mobility. Whilst the main foyer is fully accessible and on street level, there is no seating. Patrons will be unable to be seated prior to the circle and stalls opening. Please see the performance information for door opening times. Please contact the door staff on arrival to be introduced to your access host.
The Nederlander Box is accessible from street level with accommodation for up to 3 wheelchairs and 3 companions and a dedicated accessible toilet.
Stalls ZZ50, YY50 & XX50 can be removed to accommodate one wheelchair and are accessible from theatre foyer using the wheelchair lift. There is also an accessible toilet in the stalls. (Your access host will have a RADAR Key, but if you have one, please bring it with you). Unfortunately, these seats are only accessible for manual wheelchairs as the wheelchair lift is unsuitable for electric wheelchairs. Due to the limited availability of these spaces, they highly recommend booking well in advance. When patrons are transferring from a wheelchair to a theatre seat the theatre will store the wheelchair safely for the duration of the show and bring it to you during the interval if required. An in-house wheelchair is also available.
Toilets . Stalls toilets are located through the auditorium at front and rear at each side. The front left and rear right toilets have level access. Circle toilets are located to the centre and rear right-hand side of the auditorium with further toilets to the centre left-hand side.
Leg room. Stalls row A has the most leg room, and while there are no seats without another directly in front, the following seats offer very good leg room: Stalls N 12 & N 39, O 12 & O 39, Z 1 & Z 50.
Hearing-impaired. They have an infra-red hearing system with two choices of receiver, a headset or a neck loop. If you would like to make use of the hearing system they advise booking tickets directly with the box office on 020 7927 0929 or emailing email@example.com to ensure your seats are allocated in a suitable area. To use this facility, please ask a member of their Front of House team for assistance on arrival.
Parking. There are several disabled access parking bays within close proximity of the theatre. Please visit BlueBadgeParking.com for more information.
Assistance dogs. Guide dogs are welcome everywhere in the theatre and may be taken into the auditorium if required. However, due to the sound levels, you may prefer the dog to be looked after by theatre staff. If you would like to bring a guide dog, please contact the theatre in advance on 020 7927 0900 and select the option to speak to the Front of House team.
If you require the use of the platform lift or access assistance but have not booked your tickets via their access line, please email them ahead of your visit firstname.lastname@example.org to ensure they have sufficient attendants on duty. Unfortunately, they have been made aware that some customers without access needs have taken advantage of this concession in order to unfairly obtain cheaper tickets. To address this, the box office staff may ask for proof of your access requirements at the time of booking. They do not intend to cause any offence and appreciate your understanding of why this may be necessary.
Location : Dominion Theatre, 268-269 Tottenham Court Rd, Fitzrovia, London W1T 7AQ
Transport: Kings Cross (National Rail) then 10 minutes. Underground : Tottenham Court Road (Central Line, Northern Line) 4 minutes. London Buses routes : 1, 7, 8, 10, 14, 24, 25, 29, 55, 73, 98, 134, 176, 242 and 390 stop close by.
Access Line : 020 7927 0929
Tel: 020 7927 0900