The Theatre Royal Drury Lane is one of London's most spectacular theatre spaces and one that has been home to a whole host of prolific productions. Originally opening in 1663, the venue is one of London's oldest theatres and has been rebuilt and redesigned numerous times. The auditorium is large, and can hold over 2,000 people divided across four levels, including boxes. The stage is exceptionally large, meaning that views from all levels are good and, whilst it is possible to feel far away, in many cases a sense of perspective makes for an excellent performance experience.
The current production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
is a large, visual musical with a lot to see. There are a number of special effects that can be enjoyed at all levels of the theatre.
The stalls are the largest seating section in the auditorium and are divided into six blocks of seating, with a front and rear section. The central sections give the best overall views of the stage, and are unobstructed until row L, where the overhang of the level above becomes visible. Seats towards the end of each row look across the stage rather than directly at it, meaning some pieces of the stage can be restricted. The rear stalls can feel quite far back from the action, with the top of the stage cut off which does mean certain parts of the show can be missed.
The Royal Circle provides excellent views of the stage, and feels at a level with most of the action. The section is well raked, meaning views over the heads of the audience in front are not obstructed. The section is free from safety rails, and even seats on the end of each row have a clear view of the stage. The overhang of the Upper Circle restricts the top of the stage for those on the back rows, but not as significantly as in the Stalls. The section is divided into three equal blocks of seats, giving excellent accessibility and opportunities for extra legroom. Seats are on the whole very comfortable and have good legroom.
The Upper Circle feels much higher than the other levels and looks down onto the stage at quite a steep angle. The section is quite wide, meaning that some seats towards the ends of the rows can be restricted view. The overhang of the level above begins to come into sight from row E, and the safety rail at the bottom of each aisle can restrict the view of those sitting towards the centre aisles. The section does feel quite far away from the stage, but does provide panoramic views of the vast stage.
The Balcony section is the highest level of the auditorium and does feel far back from the stage. Because of the height, it may be unsuitable for those who have an issue with heights or have mobility problems. The section is divided into three blocks of seats, of which the central section has the most unobstructed views. The section is very well raked, giving good views over the heads of the audience in front. Safety bars towards the ends of each row do obstruct the view, although these seats are sold as having a viewing restriction.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where are the best seats for children at the Cambridge Theatre?
The best seats for children at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane are in the centre of the Stalls section or the Royal Circle. The Upper Circle and Balcony sections are very far away from the stage, so some children will not be able to see all of the action. Some children may prefer to sit close to the stage, but older children may enjoy taking in all of the action from the slightly higher Royal Circle. Booster cushions are available for smaller children, and are available by asking an usher inside the venue. Rows A and B of the Balcony are not recommended for children, due to the safety barrier in front.
Where are the Restricted View seats?
There are restricted view seats at all levels of the auditorium. These should be clearly marked on your ticket as restricted, and some level of discount applied.
The first and final two seats in each row A-J are marked as having a 'side view'. Seats in rows X-ZZ are marked as having the Circle overhang obscuring the view.
Seats in all boxes are marked as having a 'side view'.
Seats towards the central aisles are marked as slightly restricted due to a handrail or pillar being in view. Seats 1-5 and 44-48 have a limited view and you must lean forward to see.
Rows A and B are sold as restricted as they have the handrail in view, and you must lean forward to see. These seats are not recommended for children.
What if I am hard of sight or hearing?
The theatre is fitted with an infra-red system, with headsets available in the main foyer. An induction loop is available at the Box Office. Seats within the Upper Circle and Balcony have small binoculars available to rent in front of each seat, which should be replaced after use.
How many steps are there in the theatre?
There are 6 steps up to the main foyer and Box Office from street level. The Stalls are accessed by 20 steps down, with a further 17 up, but handrails are available on both sides. There are a further 39 steps up to the Royal Circle, with one handrail, and 61 steps to the Upper Circle. The Balcony can be accessed by a separate entrance, and has 90 steps up to it. For patrons who require step-free access, there is level access to the theatre from the signposted Russell Street door, which has its own doorbell.
Where are the toilets located?
Male and female toilets are located on each level of the auditorium. An adapted toilet is located by the step-free Russell Street entrance to the left of the Stalls.
Where are the bars located?
There is a bar and coffee bar available on the Stalls level and a Grand Saloon bar on the Royal Circle level. The Upper Circle is serviced by one bar, with a further two on the Balcony level. All drinks can be brought to disabled customers in the auditorium. Please note the Stalls bar is 17 steps down from the Stalls section.
Are there wheelchair facilities in the theatre?
There are four spaces for wheelchair users in the Stalls section: L1, L35, K1 and K35. Companions are also able to sit in the same row. Transfer seating is also available, with space to store wheelchairs and scooters in the Stalls store room. Access dogs are allowed inside the auditorium, and staff can dog-sit for up to four dogs per performance. Row K and C1, C29, D1 and D33 have the most legroom in the Stalls for transfer seating.