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The current building is the third theatre to be built on this prominent Strand site. The first theatre, which had a capacity of 1,000 people, opened in April 1870 under the management of H J Montague, David James and Thomas Thorne. The architect was C J Phipps. The first production was a comedy by Andrew Halliday called For Love or Money. The auditorium was horseshoe shaped and built behind two houses, leaving little room for the provision of a foyer or, for that matter, any dressing rooms for the cast. The building witnessed plays with many major stars of the day including Henry Irving, and enjoyed several long runs including a record-breaking 404 performances for a revival of The School for Scandal starring Henry Neville (1872) and 1,362 performances of Our Boys by H J Byron (1875), an astounding run for the time.
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