The Lyric Theatre is a West End theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue in the City of Westminster.
Designed by the architect C. J. Phipps, it was built by the producer Henry Leslie with profits from the Alfred Cellier and B. C. Stephenson hit, Dorothy (he made £100,000 from this opera), which he transferred from the Prince of Wales Theatre to open his new venue on 17 December 1888. It was the second theatre to be constructed on this stretch of Shaftesbury Avenue and is now the oldest in the street. The foyer and bars were refurbished in 1932–33, and the facade was restored in 1994. At present it seats 915 on four levels, although originally it was designed with a seating capacity of 1,306.
Early in the theatre's history, it staged mostly comic operas, and later it has been a home to light comedies, musicals and straight dramas.
The theatre retains many of its original features (including being built behind an original 1767 house front, at the rear to Great Windmill Street, the former house and museum of Sir William Hunter) and the theatre was Grade II listed by English Heritage in September 1960.
The Lyric Theatre still uses water to operate its iron curtain. Water was originally pumped from the river Thames to West End theatres and hotels and used to hydraulically operate heavy machinery like lifts. Hydraulic pressure is now provided by electric pump, but it can also be operated manually by two people.
The Lyric Theatre has been owned by Nimax Theatres since 2005 when Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer purchased it from the Really Useful Group (establishing the new Nimax group with the Apollo Theatre, Garrick Theatre and Duchess Theatre).
- 1888: Dorothy (transferred to the theatre in 1888, opening elsewhere in 1887)
- 1889: Doris and The Red Hussar
- 1892: The Mountebanks
- 1894: His Excellency
- 1896: The Sign of the Cross
- 1899: Florodora
- 1903: The Duchess of Dantzic
- 1910: The Chocolate Soldier
- 1911: The Girl in the Taxi
- 1919: The Bird of Paradise, which starred Henry Daniell as Hoheno
- 1922: Whirled into Happiness
- 1922: Lilac Time
- 1924: The Street Singer
- 1926: The Gold Diggers starred Tallulah Bankhead
- 1931: Strange Interlude
- 1934: The Royal Family, by George S. Kaufman, directed by Noël Coward, with Madge Titheradge, Marie Tempest and Laurence Olivier
- 1935: Tovarich
- 1946: The Winslow Boy
- 1950: The Little Hut – ran for 1,261 performances
- 1950: Vortex
- 1955: South Sea Bubble
- 1958: Irma La Douce
- 1964: Robert and Elizabeth
- 1969: Plaza Suite
- 1972: How the Other Half Loves – ran for 869 performances
- 1981: Tonight at 8:30; Arms and the Man
- 1983: Blood Brothers; Pack of Lies
- 1984: Loot
- 1989: Steel Magnolias
- 1990: Five Guys Named Moe
- 1995: Ain't Misbehavin'
- 1998: An Ideal Husband
- 2000: Brief Encounter
- 2001: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
- 2002: The Constant Wife
- 2004: Beautiful and Damned
- 2005: Death of a Salesman
- 2006: The Night of the Iguana, Smaller, Grumpy Old Women and Cabaret
- 2008: Hairspray: The School Musical and Flamenco Flamen'ka
- 2008: Eddie Izzard (Stripped)
- 2009: Thriller – Live starring Denise Pearson, A Frisky and Mannish Christmas
- Guide to British Theatres 1750–1950, John Earl and Michael Sell pp. 124–5 (Theatres Trust, 2000) ISBN 0-7136-5688-3
- Who's Who in the Theatre, edited by John Parker, tenth edition, revised, London, 1947, pps: 477–478.