Apollo Theatre(London) – What You Need to Know Before You Go

Apollo Theatre first opened in 1914  and ever since then is a place known for hosting award-winning musicals and other top shows. Apollo Theatre has played a major role in introducing jazz, swing, R&B gospel, blues, soul, and bebop music. Many of the known artists like James Brown, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, D’Angelo, and others started their road to stardom from Apollo theatre. Today it has become a not-for-profit platform which presents concerts, education, community programs and performing arts to the audience.


George Keister designed this neo-classical theatre under the ownership of Sidney Cohen. In 1914, Benjamin Hurtig and Harry Season took the theatre for a thirty-year lease and named the theatre Hurtig & Seamon’s New Burlesque Theatre. During this time, African-Americans were not allowed to attend the theatre as guests or performers. In 1933, when Fiorello La Guardia began a campaign against burlesque, Hurtig & Seamon’s theatre was one of the many to close down.


Cohen reopened the building once again in 1934 and named it 125th Street Apollo Theatre. Working with Sussman, the manager, Cohen changed the format of the shows from burlesque to variety revies and formed new marketing plans to attract the growing African-American community in Harlem.

Frank Schiffman and Leo Brecher gained the authority of the Apollo Theatre in 1935, and their families operated the theatre until the late ‘70s. It was bought many times and sold several times until 1991 when Apollo Theatre Foundation was established as a private, not-for-profit organisation. Today, the theatre functions under a board of directors, and undertakes several events such as concerts, performing arts, education, and community programs.

Apollo Theatre in 2020

Today, Apollo Theatre is refurbished completely and is located on Shaftesbury Avenue in the west end of London. It opens exactly 45 minutes before the start of each performance.

Apollo Theatre Box Office opens from Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 8 pm. Sometimes the performances can happen on Sundays for which the theatre opens at 10 am and remains open until the last performance of the day ends.

Theatre Audience

How to get to Apollo Theatre

Apollo Theatre is located on Shaftesbury Avenue, close to Piccadilly Circus in the west end of London. If you are planning to enjoy a show in the West End, you can check out the Q-Park’s Theatreland Parking Scheme. You can save up to 50% on parking with Q-Park (after 12 pm and only for 4 hours). To use your ticket, simply show the ticket at the box office and the car park machine will detect the ticket and will charge only half price.

Some of the popular shows you can watch at Apollo Theatre include “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” and “Barmy Britain-Part Five.”