Built in 1904 by celebrated architect Frank Matcham- the London Coliseum is a spectacular grade II listed building. The Coliseum was built in the Italian Renaissance style. The unique and impressive globe that sits atop the theatre originally revolved until the London council decided it was unsafe. Nowadays the globe is stationary but fitted with a series of lights that give the illusion of rotation. The impressive exterior shields a huge scale venue capable of seating over two-thousand four-hundred theatre patrons. Designed to be ‘the Peoples Palace of Entertainment and Art’ the Coliseum boasted more sixty-five thousand visitors during its opening week. The opening week staged as many as four shows per day- all two hours each. A large scale refurbishment of the Coliseum began in 2002- the intention was to have the refurbishments completed in time for the theatres one hundredth birthday.
Before making its mark as a traditional theatre, the Coliseum began life by staging variety show from 1904 until the early thirties. During the thirties the Coliseum staged a successful string of American musicals including ‘Annie Get Your Gun’, ‘Guys and Dolls’, ‘Kiss me Kate’ and ‘Damn Yankees’.
In 1968 the Coliseum became home to the Sadler Wells Opera Company- later renamed the English National Opera. The London Coliseum now presents an annual season of English language Opera and often entertains ballet performances by the English National Ballet. In 2004 the English National Opera won the Laurence Olivier award for best new opera for their production of ‘the Trojans’.