St James’s boasts three of London’s finest theatres - The Theatre Royal Haymarket, His Majesty’s Theatre, and Jermyn Street Theatre - so whether you’re in the mood for a large scale musical or an intimate arthouse production, you’ll find yourself perfectly catered to, and with the area’s outstanding array of pre-theatre dining options there’s really no excuse to not make a night of it.
The Theatre Royal Haymarket
One of London’s most famous playhouses, The Theatre Royal Haymarket regularly attracts talent like Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Patrick Stewart, Joanna Lumley and Sienna Miller. It dates back to 1720 making it the third-oldest London theatre still in use, and, in addition to its reputation for world class theatre, is also famous for its resident ghost; friendly actor, playwright and comedian John Baldwin Buckstone, who has been spotted in the theatre, including sightings by actors Judi Dench and Donald Sinden. Supposedly Buckstone’s phantom is very attached to his old dressing room as staff have been known to report a ghostly voice reciting lines backstage. The theatre has been to home to plays and musicals including "Heathers: The Musical", a hilarious adaptation of the classic 1980s movie and most recently, "Peppa Pig's Fun Day Out" to keep the whole family entertained.
Visit their website for more information on the latest and upcoming productions.
His Majesty’s Theatre
Another one of the jewels in the crown of London’s Theatre scene is His Majesty's Theatre. The theatre has been showing the enduringly popular "Phantom of the Opera" since 1986, a show whose popularity shows no sign of slowing.
His Majesty’s Theatre, also has its own phantom. The ghost of actor and theatre manager Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree apparently haunts the theatre’s top box, stage right, with visitors reporting cold spots and the door of the box suddenly opening of its own accord.
Interestingly, the theatre’s name is dependent on the gender of the monarch, and changes depending on the reigning King or Queen. It first became the King's Theatre in 1714 on the accession of George I. It was renamed Her Majesty's Theatre in 1837. From 1901 to 1952, the theatre was known as His Majesty's Theatre before it became Her Majesty's on the accession of Queen Elizabeth II. Following the coronation of King Charles III on 6th May 2023, the theatre is once again known as His Majesty's Theatre.
Jermyn Street Theatre
From one of the largest to one of the smallest, Jermyn Street Theatre specialises in intimate arthouse productions, and is the perfect destination for culture vultures. Located in the basement of 16B Jermyn Street, the building used to house the glamorous Monseigneur Restaurant and Club in the 1930s and was converted into a theatre in the 1990s by Howard Jameson and Penny Horner. Artistic Director Tom Littler is famous for encouraging the staging of outstanding contemporary pieces, rare revivals, and innovative re-imaginings of old classics, and the nature of the space means that audiences get an unusually intimate experience with every performance. Its Jermyn Street location also places it near a selection of fine restaurants, with African cuisine next door at Papa L's, and the international culinary delights of St James’s Market just moments away. The Theatre has presented many must-see productions including “About Leo”, an enthralling drama about the artist Leonora Carrington. “Parents’ Evening” an acclaimed comedy about modern marriage and parenthood, “Billy Bishop Goes to War” a true story that explores the complexities of heroism in Britain’s colonial past, and “Burke and Hare”, an uproarious comedy about a truly wicked way to make money.
Visit the Jermyn Street Theatre’s website for their latest innovative show.