This theatre was designed by Walter Emden, with CJ Phipps brought in as a consultant to help with the planning on this difficult site, which included an underground river. Originally the theatre had 800 seats on 4 levels, but the gallery (top) level has since been closed and the seating capacity reduced to 656. The gold leaf auditorium was restored in 1986 by the stage designer Carl Toms and in 1997 the front facade had a facelift.
The theatre has mostly been associated with comedies and comedy-dramas. Recent productions include a transfer in January 1982 from the Strand Theatre of the farce Ne Sex Please We're British which then subsquently transferred to the Duchess Theatre in August 1986. On 24 October 1995 the Royal National Theatre's multi-award winning production of JB Priestly's An Inspector Calls opened here having played successful seasons at the RNT's Lyttelton and Olivier theatres aswell as the Aldwych theatre and a season on Broadway.