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Gillian Lynne Theatre history

The Mogul Saloon was built in 1847. It was soon re-christened the Turkish Saloon, then the Mogul Music Hall, then in 1851 it settled in as the Middlesex Music Hall, extended shortly afterwards to allow for bigger audiences.

In 1911 the old building was finally torn down, replaced by the New Middlesex Theatre of Varieties. Bought by the enterprising George Grossmith and Edward Laurillard in 1919, it was redecorated extensively and renamed yet again, this time the Winter Garden. The new venue's first production, in 1921, was Jerome Kern's famous musical Sally, followed by The Cabaret Girl and The Beauty Prize, both also by Kern.

In 1959 the building's owners, the Rank Organisation, sold out to a property developer. The Winter Garden was stripped of its finery and lay neglected for many years while various groups fought to have their plans approved to no avail. It was finally demolished, replaced by the revolutionary modern building that stands today, originally intended as a lecture theatre-cum-conference centre.

The New London’s auditorium opened its doors for the first time in 1972, showing a TV recording of a one woman show by Marlene Dietrich. January 1973 saw the official opening, a production of The Unknown Soldier and His Wife, written by and starring Peter Ustinov.

Between 1977 and 1980 the auditorium of The New London theatre changed tack to become a TV studio, broadcasting, amongst other things, championship snooker and the popular TV series This is Your Life. It also played an important if occasional part as a conference centre.

When Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Cats arrived, the venue became predominantly a theatre again. In 1991 Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group bought the theatre. In May 2002 Cats, the longest-running musical in the West End and Broadway at the time, closed, with the final performance also broadcast live on a massive outdoor screen in Covent Garden. It was the show's 21st birthday.

Afterwards the venue enjoyed a complete overhaul, replacing the original stage machinery and more to create a ‘theatre for the future’. The architect Paul Tvrtkovic, in association with Sean Kenny, included a wealth of amazing new features, the most dramatic of which was a remarkable 60 foot wide revolve, which turns the entire stage and orchestra pit as well as some of the seating.

This century the New London has hosted Bill Kenwright’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Blue Man Group, The Royal Shakespeare Company's King Lear and The Seagull plus short runs of Gone With the Wind and Imagine This.

War Horse transferred to the New London from the National Theatre and has wowed sell-out audiences until early 2016.

In 2018, the New London Theatre was renamed the Gillian Lynne Theatre after the legendary West End choreographer and pioneer of British musical theatre and dance Gillian Lynne. It is the first West End theatre named after a woman.