The large public demand for big spectacular musical productions and a report on the building of a New Super-Theatre in the Centre of London issued in February 1928, led to the construction of the Dominion Theatre at the intersection of Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street.
The site was chosen for its central position but also its proximity to the reconstructed Tube station. The Dominion Theatre was built on what used to be a huge tent hosting variety show and fun fair. Going back as far as the twelfth century, the St Giles Leper Hospital once stood on this spot! It is said that in the nineteenth century, a brewery containing a 22-foot vat of porter ale burst pouring its contents into the streets and literally drowning eight people in alcohol.
With an initial capacity of 2,800 seats, the Dominion Theatre became one of the largest West End Theatres. However, it was used for many years as a cinema, or temporary home for short seasons of opera, dance and rock. It was designed by W. and T.R. Milburn and the interior decoration is very much on the lines of the modern picture palaces built in the 1930s.
The production of Dave Clark's space-age musical Time in 1986 repositioned the Dominion Theatre in the mainstream of West End theatres. Since then, it has been the home to several major musicals production such as Grease, Scrooge, The Beauty and The Beast and Notre-Dame de Paris.
In 2006, the Dominion theatre was chosen to be the home of stage production of The Lord of the Rings, however the huge success of its current tenant We Will Rock You changed those plans!