laurence olivier london photography the oliviers vivien leigh

Welcome to Theatreland!

Having a day off from screenings and seminars, I decided to meander over to the West End and take photos of some of the places associated with Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier. 95% of the theatres they performed in are in walking distance from one another. Piccadilly and Soho are great areas in which to explore your photography skills because there are simply so many interesting things to see. Modern architecture meets centuries-old buildings; Chinatown backs up into Leicester Square; posh St James intermingles with the art district.  It’s a mish-mash of fabulosity, and I love exploring these sorts of places.

For those of you who are coming to the Weekend with the Oliviers event in May, these are some of the places I’m planning to take you to on our walking tour.  Enjoy the view of London’s theatreland!

Ambassadors Theatre, West Street. Vivien Leigh became an overnight sensation when she performed here in The Mask of Virtue in 1935

The Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue. Vivien Leigh performed here in Duel of Angels in 1958
Theatre Royal, Haymarket. Vivien Leigh performed here in The Doctor’s Dilemma, 1942
The Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue. Vivien Leigh performed here in South Sea Bubble, 1956. Laurence Olivier performed here in Theatre Royal (1935) and Bees on the Boatdeck (1935)
The Noel Coward Theatre (formerly the New Theatre), St Martin’s Lane. Laurence Olivier performed here in several plays in the 1940s as actor-manager of the Old Vic Company.
Another view of the Noel Coward Theatre
The Phoenix Theatre, Charing Cross Road. Vivien Leigh performed here in The Skin of Our Teeth, 1946
The former site of the St James Theatre, King Street. It’s now St James House, across the street from Christie’s. The panel shows Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier as Cleopatra and Caesar.
Commemorating the St James Theatre
The Ivy, West Street. A favorite restaurant of Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier, Noel Coward and many other elites of the London stage.

Kendra has been the weblady at since 2007. She lives in Yorkshire and is the author of Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait, and co-author of Ava Gardner: A Life in Movies (Running Press). Follow her on Twitter @kendrajbean, Instagram at @vivandlarrygram, or at her official website.

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Comments (5)

  1. What great pictures! You’re quite the photographer, Kendra! It sure would be nice to join you on the weekend tour, but alas it’s not in the cards for me and my family right now, but hopefully in the next couple of years. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Gosh, Kendra, thank you so much!!! Oh, I’m amazed!!!!!!!!!!!
    I’m an actress too and Vivien was the inspiration. I became an actress after reading her bio!

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