The Criterion is one of the few independent theatres in London’s West End.

Managed by The Criterion Theatre Trust, all profits generated from our theatre operations are put back into the running and care of this unique historic venue. The work includes restoring the Grade II* listed theatre, making the venue more environmentally sustainable and fit to present modern theatre to modern audiences, encouraging increased engagement in the arts through community and education projects, and supporting the development of emerging talent through created opportunities on the Cri stage.

History of the Criterion

1874 Criterion

In 1870, catering company Spiers and Pond, developed the site of the White Bear Inn, a 17th Century posting inn on a site then known as Regent Circus, at a cost of some £100,000.

A competition was held to find the right design and out of fifteen entries, that of Thomas Verity was chosen. Building commenced and when the frameworks had been completed it was decided to alter the proposed concert hall into a theatre with Verity to design it. Only the main entrance and foyer would be on ground level in Piccadilly Circus, the rest would be below ground, even having to go downstairs to the Upper Circle.

Our very first ‘First Night’ was on March 21st 1874 with a programme including HJ Byron’s An American Lady and Topseyturveydom, a piece by W S Gilbert.

Following extensive redevelopment of the whole Criterion site on Piccadilly Circus in the late 80's and early 90's, The Criterion Theatre Trust took on the theatre lease with performances by Ennio Marchetto commencing on the 10th October 1992

Read more

RESTORATION

Our most ambitious restoration drama ever.  A tale of mystery, intrigue and pink plush cushions.

The Trust is committed to ensuring this beautiful venue is here for the enjoyment of audiences for many years to come.  We have an ongoing project of works we squeeze in around our performances - some of which you may see as works in progress when you visit us.  Our principal aim is to restore many of the Criterion Theatre's former glories, while also making it a safe, sustainable and efficient space for the 21st century.

Your generosity makes this possible for every ticket purchased, £1.00 goes to our restoration fund - as a ticket buyer you are directly supporting the restoration work on this Grade II listed building.

See our projects

Auditorium
Photographs of restoration

Venue Hire

A 590 seat auditorium with two bars: a unique venue for corporate, creative and community events in the heart of London’s West End. 

Corporate presentations, AGM’s, fashion shows, photo shoots, location filming, presentation training, press conferences, product launches, showcases, gala fundraisers, concerts, school workshops …or something we haven’t even thought of yet.

The Criterion’s experienced team are here to help you create bespoke, tailored events in the heart of London. Whether you’re hosting a high-end charity gala or presenting your business plan to the company board, the Criterion’s status as an independent West End theatre ensures the level of care, personalisation and flexibility you are looking for.

For further information please contact Fiona Callaghan on 020 7839 8811 or email admin@criterion-theatre.co.uk

View technical overview

Sustainability

The Cri understands the importance and necessity of sustainability and the work we need to do to reduce our environmental impact.

This is an ongoing project, but here is where we have started:

  • We use 100% recyclable & “Born in the UK” coffee cups.

  • We recycle all our waste through First Mile who recycle materials back into new products.

  • We have replaced our front of house lavatory system which now uses 5 litres less per flush.

  • We stock Fair Trade and ethically traded confectionary.

  • We ensure all our plastic products are 100% recyclable and continue to reduce our plastic usage.

  • 90% of the lighting in our building has been switched to energy saving LED. The move to 100% should be completed in the near future.

  • Watch this space!

Illustration of 6 lightbulbs with 1 lit

“It's just beautiful”

“An interior to be admired”

“Any seat in the house is a comfy one”

“I laughed so much my jaws ached”

“Less than a minute walk from Piccadilly Circus”

“Great place to see a show!”

“A lovely, intimate atmosphere”

“An utter delight”

div class="w-slide">

“It's just beautiful”

“An interior to be admired”

“Any seat in the house is a comfy one”

“I laughed so much my jaws ached”

“Less than a minute walk from Piccadilly Circus”

“Great place to see a show!”

“A lovely, intimate atmosphere”

“An utter delight”

This website utilises 'cookies' and by using this site you agree to our use of cookies as outlined in our Privacy and Cookies Policy below. You will only see this notice the first time you enter the site from any particular computer. x Understood