New London Theatre renamed after choreographer and One Dance UK Patron Dame Gillian Lynne DBE

28 Jun 2018

One Dance UK patron and choreographer Dame Gillian Lynne DBE has become the first woman to have a theatre named after her in the West End. Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber said, “Most theatre names are either variations of the royal family or are named after writers so it is wonderful to have the theatre named after someone whose work is so legendary and has been such a great influence.”.

A seminal influence on British dance and musical theatre, Dame Gillian Lynne started her career in 1942 at age 16 before joining the Sadler’s Wells Ballet Company in 1944 where she became a soloist performing at the newly opened Covent Garden Opera. Her many roles with the soon-to-be renamed Royal Ballet included the Black Queen in Checkmate, the Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty and Queen of the Willis in Giselle.

Best-known for her ground-breaking work on Cats and The Phantom of the Opera, Lynne has directed over 60 productions in the West End and on Broadway, including the UK premiere of Jerry Herman’s Dear World in 2013. She has worked on 11 feature films and 100’s of television productions as producer, director, choreographer or performer.

When the theatre opened in 1847 it was called Mogul Music Hall, then becoming the Winter Garden Theatre and in 1973 the New London Theatre. On Friday Andrew Lloyd Webber gave Dame Gillian the keys to his New London Theatre. He said he was annoyed he had not thought of renaming it after her ages ago. The Gillian Lynne Theatre is currently the home of Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock the Musical.