- Description: On a winter’s evening in November 1899 Charing Cross Road was a hubbub of excitement as Charles Wyndham’s new theatre had its grand opening with a revival of David Garrick, a play in which Charles Wyndham and his future wife, Mary Moore, both had a great success. The site was owned by the Marquess of Salisbury who would only allow a theatre to be built if it was for Wyndham whom he considered the greatest actor of the day. Wyndham lacked the necessary financial resources to build a theatre and so Mary Moore went out and raised the money from ten wealthy friends – little wonder he married her! The theatre’s architect was William Sprague who was then at his peak. Wyndham’s was the first West End theatre he designed in his own right and one of seven theatres that he completed that year. It was, and still is, a theatrical gem. The décor was in the Louis XVI style, in the auditorium the prettily painted balcony and box fronts were matched in lightness of touch by a circular ceiling in the style of François Boucher. The original turquoise, cream and gold colour scheme is still very much in evidence today and will remain so as the theatre is gradually refurbished. The exterior was built in Sprague’s favourite free classical style using Portland stone, a material with which he could combine the artistic and the practical. As the Boer War was still raging Charles Wyndham generously gave all the opening night proceeds of £4,000 to the Soldiers’ Wives and Families Association. David Garrick proved so popular that it was not until April 1900 that the first new production, Cyrano de Bergerac, was presented. The public were doubtful about Wyndham spoiling his appearance with a protuberant nose and Mrs Dane’s Defence soon followed.
- Address: Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0DA
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