The Prince Edward Theatre was build in 1930 where once stood a vast draper's shop know as the Emporium. Located in the middle of Soho on the corner of Greek and old Compton Streets, It has one of the most interesting London theatres histories and was even used as a cinema and casino before becoming one of the West End most popular theatres.
The Prince Edward was the first of four new theatres to open in London in the early '30s: The Cambridge, The Phoenix, the Whitehall and the Prince Edward. As for the Piccadilly Theatre and few other theatres to be built around the same period, the Art Deco interior decoration was designed by French designers Marc-Henri Levy and Gaston Laverdet.
A popular show in Broadway doesn't necessarily means that it will be successful in London. Indeed the opening production Rio Rita presented by Siegfried failed to take off in the UK. So did few other productions which forced the management to lease the Prince Edward for the use of trade films shows. As previously mentioned, the building was skilfully converted into a Casino at a cost of £25,000 and business boomed until 1940 when the war put an end to spectacular stage shows such as Folies Parisiennes.
After the war the Prince Edward was changed back to a theatre but under a different name. Following a mish-mash of variety, ballet, pantomines, musicals and even movies, the Delfont Organisation took over the ownership in 1974. They changed its name back to its original name and reopened its doors in 1978 with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Smash Hit Musical Evita.
It has ever since attracted crowds who, to enjoy a good night at the theatre; make their way past sex shops, pubs and restaurants. Productions include Chess, Mamma Mia, Mary Poppins and Broadway Smash Hit Musical Jersey Boys.