Olympic Theatre

Other Images

map legend

Venue Type & Location


Site Name: Olympic Theatre
Location: London
County: London (city-county)
Location Type: Town - in town at determined location


  • Address: 6-10 Wych Street, Strand. For a current map, Click Here. For historical maps showing the venue (in addition to the one excerpted at right), Click Here and Here.

  • Performance Space Description: Information about this venue has not yet been compiled; however, some sense of the performance space may be gleaned by following the links at right. In particular:

  • See the 'Bibliographic Sources' link for a provisional list of venue-relevant resources (both primary and secondary). Wherever possible (i.e. when the pertinent text is relatively short and/or easily condensed) this material has been transcribed, and appears beneath the appropriate bibliographic citation.

  • See the 'Events at venue' link for a listing of blackface/minstrelsy-related events that took place in this performance space (with attached bibliographic references).

    Beth Marquis

  • Events at Olympic Theatre

    Event Date Venue Location Troupe
    Dramatic 21 September 1846 - 21 September 1846 London, London (city-county) Griffin
    Minstrel Show 14 December 1846 - 19 December 1846 London, London (city-county) Tennessee Minstrels
    Dramatic 4 January 1847 - 6 January 1847 London, London (city-county) Slave Troupe (Olympic, 1847)
    Dramatic 1 March 1847 - 6 March 1847 London, London (city-county) Scott, J.R., the American tragedian
    Dramatic 20 October 1847 - 20 October 1847 London, London (city-county) Female American Serenaders
    Variety 25 October 1847 - 30 October 1847 London, London (city-county) Female American Serenaders
    Dramatic 29 December 1847 - 29 December 1847 London, London (city-county) Brooke, G.V.
    Dramatic 3 January 1848 - 8 January 1848 London, London (city-county) Brooke, G.V.
    Dramatic 10 January 1848 - 15 January 1848 London, London (city-county) Brooke, G.V.
    Dramatic 17 January 1848 - 22 January 1848 London, London (city-county) Brooke, G.V.
    Dramatic 24 January 1848 - 29 January 1848 London, London (city-county) Brooke, G.V.
    Dramatic 14 February 1848 - 19 February 1848 London, London (city-county) Brooke, G.V.
    Dramatic 24 April 1848 - 24 April 1848 London, London (city-county) American Palmer, the Kentucky Banjo Player
    Dramatic 1 May 1848 - 2 May 1848 London, London (city-county) American Palmer, the Kentucky Banjo Player, Brooke, G.V.
    Dramatic 31 May 1848 - 31 May 1848 London, London (city-county) Brooke, G.V.
    Dramatic 26 June 1848 - 26 June 1848 London, London (city-county) Brooke, G.V.
    Dramatic 7 December 1848 - 7 December 1848 London, London (city-county) Sharp, J.W.
    Dramatic 4 February 1850 - 4 February 1850 London, London (city-county) Brooke, G.V.
    Dramatic 6 January 1851 - 6 January 1851 London, London (city-county) Brooke, G.V.
    Dramatic 3 February 1851 - 8 February 1851 London, London (city-county) Pell, G.W.
    Vocal Entertainment 14 April 1851 - 19 April 1851 London, London (city-county) Russell, Henry
    Dramatic 19 January 1852 - 24 January 1852 London, London (city-county) Farren, Henry
    Dramatic 20 September 1852 - 25 September 1852 London, London (city-county) Uncle Tom's Cabin Troupe (London-Olympic, 52)
    Dramatic 27 September 1852 - 2 October 1852 London, London (city-county) Uncle Tom's Cabin Troupe (London-Olympic, 52)
    Dramatic 19 October 1852 - 19 October 1852 London, London (city-county) Uncle Tom's Cabin Troupe (London-Olympic, 52)
    Dramatic 16 December 1852 - 16 December 1852 London, London (city-county) Uncle Tom's Cabin Troupe (London-Olympic, 52)

    Bibliographic Sources

    • Arthur Lloyd Website. 05/22/2008 (http://www.arthurlloyd.co.uk/)
    • Black’s New Guide to London and its Environs. London: Adam and Charles Black, 1863.

      “THE OLYMPIC THEATRE, Wych Street, Strand, stands on the site of a house built by Philip Astley for equestrian performances. That house having been burned in 1849, the present house was built the same year. This is the theatre at which Mr. Robson shews his great powers as an actor” (214).
    • Davis, Jim & Victor Emeljanow. Reflecting the Audience. London Theatregoing, 1840-1880. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2001.

      Cruchley’s Guide in 1841 described this theatre as the “most elegant and most flourishing establishment of its class in London” (185).
    • Dictionary of Victorian London Online. 07/27/2008 (http://www.victorianlondon.org/)

      (Under Entertainment - Theatre & Shows - Theatres & Venues - Olympic Theatre)

    • Howard, Diana. London Theatres and Music Halls 1850-1950. London: The Library Association, 1970.


    • London and its Environs. Leipsic: Karl Baedeker, 1885.

      ”ROYAL OLYMPIC THEATRE, Wych Street, Strand. Comedies, farces, and extravaganzas” (38).
    • London as it is To-day. London: H.G. Clarke & Co., 1851.

      “OLYMPIC THEATRE, Wych Street. The former theatre on this site, which was elected by old Philip Astley, in 1805, and which obtained some celebrity in its day, from the fact of George III. having contributed the principal portion of the timber of a French man-of-war, La Ville de Paris, in which William IV. went out as midshipman, which was used in its construction, was entirely destroyed by fire, on the 29th of March, 1849. The present edifice speedily rose upon its ruins, and was opened on the 26th of December in the same year, under the lesseeship of Mr. Watts, but closed abruptly in a few weeks, in consequence of the criminal proceedings instituted against that gentleman for forgery. The frontage is plain and simple: on entering, the beauty and proportions of the interior contrast strikingly with the plainness of the exterior. The audience part of the theatre is of the horse-shoe shape- decidedly the best of all adapted for the comfort and enjoyment of the spectator. It is decorated in the arabesque style, and lighted by an immense glass chandelier, weighing nearly three quarters of a ton.

      The present lessee is Mr. W. Farren, who, notwithstanding that he has a very good company, has failed to do any thing towards restoring its former fortunes. The principal performers here are the lessee himself and his two sons, Mr. G.V. Brooke, who made his first appearance in London at the old theatre, Messrs. Compton, Leigh Murray, and W. Shalders, a good scene painter, who has lately made great progress as a low comedian; Miss Helen Faucit, Mrs. Stirling, Mrs. Leigh Murray, and Miss Louisa Howard. Doors open at half-past six o’clock; performances commence at seven. Admission: boxes, three shillings; pit, one shilling and sixpence; gallery, sixpence. Second price at nine o clock: boxes, two shillings; pit, one shilling” (216).
    • The London Stage 1800-1900 (University of Massachusetts). 03/23/2008 (http://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/~a0fs000/1800/1800.html)
    • Sherson, Erroll. London’s Lost Theatres of the Nineteenth Century. New York: Benjamin Blom, Inc., 1925.


    • Theatres in Victorian London Website. 05/22/2008 (http://www.victorianweb.org/mt/theaters/pva234.html)
    • Timbs, John. Curiosities of London (1868). London: Longmans, Green, Reader, and Dyer, 1868.

      “OLYMPIC THEATRE ,Wych-street, was originally erected by Philip Astley, upon the site of old Craven House, and was opened with horsemanship, Sept. 18, 1906. It was principally built with the timbers of La Ville de Paris, the ship in which William IV served as midshipman; these materials were given to Astley, with a chandelier, by George III. The theatre was leased in 1813 to Elliston, who removed thence to Drury-lane; and subsequently to Madame Vestris, before she became lessee of Covent-garden; both which changes were ruinous. The Olympic Theatre was destroyed by fire, within an hour, March 29, 1849: it was rebuilt the same year, and opened Dec. 26. Here William Farren was sometime lessee” (786).

      Also gives the theatre’s capacity (in 1866) as 1000 (789)
    • Timbs, John. Curiosities of London (1855). London: David Bogue, 1855.


      The information provided within this source is much the same as that given within the 1868 edition of the book.
    • "A Tour Among the Theatres". Metropolitan Magazine March, 1847: 280-287.