Sometimes referred to as the ‘People’s Palace’, the London Palladium has a special place for many who have lived in London. The theatre was the site of live concert performances that ran the gamut of big names from Bing Crosby to Judy Garland to Frank Sinatra. From the mid-1950’s, the theatre became known to millions on TV with the weekly variety show broadcast of ‘Sunday Night at the London Palladium’ (the UK equivalent of the Ed Sullivan Show).
The theatre is now familiar to a whole new generation who have enjoyed the family spectaculars that have opened over the past two decades. Among them are lavish revivals of ‘Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ (1991), ‘Oliver! (1994 - starring Jonathan Pryce), ‘The King & I’ (2000 - starring Jason Scott Lee and Elaine Paige) and a stage version of 'Saturday Night Fever' (1998). State-of-the-art technology allowed a car to fly in the premiere of ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ (2002). Even the harshest critics agreed that seeing the car fly over the stage and eventually over the orchestra and front rows was a stunning moment. ‘Chitty’ now holds the record as the longest running show ever to play the Palladium with 1,414 performances.
The vast, richly adorned and gilded auditorium seats over 2,200 patrons making the theatre among the largest in London. A mansion occupied by the Dukes of Argyll and Marlborough formerly occupied the site of the theatre. Hence the names of the two streets that bound the Palladium. An ice skating rink was the last occupant on the site prior to the building of the Palladium which officially opened in 1910. The Palladium is part of the Really Useful Group Ltd which own and operate seven of London’s West End theatres. The photo below is Argyll Street facing south with the Palladium on the left. The mock-Tudor building at the end of the street is Liberty, a retailer of luxury goods and clothing.