Toole's Theatre

London, United Kingdom

Toole's Theatre

Toole's Theatre, was a 19th-century West End building in William IV Street, near Charing Cross, in the City of Westminster. A succession of auditoria had occupied the site since 1832, serving a variety of functions, including religious and leisure activities. The theatre at its largest, after reconstruction in 1881–82, had a capacity of between 650 and 700.

As the Charing Cross Theatre (1869–1876) the house became known for bills offering a mixture of drama, burlesque and operetta. Among the authors of its burlesques were W. S. Gilbert and H. B. Farnie. Its stars included Lydia Thompson, Lionel Brough and Willie Edouin. In 1876 Thompson and her husband, Alexander Henderson, became lessees of the theatre and renamed it the Folly Theatre. They continued the theatre's customary mix of operetta and burlesque. Their greatest successes were with English adaptations of French opéras bouffes and opéras comiques, most conspicuously Les cloches de Corneville, which began its record-breaking run (705 performances) at the Folly in 1878.

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