The Church and the Theatre
St Paul’s is widely known as the Actors’ Church. The connection with the theatre began as early as 1662 with the establishment of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and was further assured in 1723 with the opening of the Covent Garden Theatre - now The Royal Opera House. Those two theatres became the starting place for ‘the west end’ theatre, and both were, and are, in our Parish.
On 9th May 1662, Samuel Pepys notes in his diary that the first “Italian puppet play” took place under the Portico of the church which marks the start of “Punch and Judy” as we know it - today, we continue to host and international Punch and Judy festival each May.
Memorials in the church are dedicated to many famous theatrical personalities, including Charlie Chaplin, Noel Coward, Gracie Fields, Vivien Leigh, Ivor Novello and Richard Bekensale. The ashes of Ellen Terry and Dame Edith Evans rest at St Paul’s.
George Bernard Shaw also set the opening scene of Pygmalion - the play that formed the basis for My Fair Lady - under the Portico. In 2016, in association with Emma Brunjes Productions and Cameron Mackintosh Ltd, we were proud to present the 60th anniversary concert performance of My Fair Lady in homage. There is a memorial plaque to Alan Jay Lerner, the lyricist and playwright of My Fair Lady, unveiled by his widow, Liz Robertson.
Today, we continue our traditions with the theatre by having an in-house professional theatre company Iris Theatre who put on productions throughout the year. We support other theatre companies by hosting their productions and stage many theatrical events such as West End Bake Off and an annual fundraising gala for TheatreMAD.
Sunday at the Musicals - Concert One
Paul Burton Productions are pleased to be bringing Sunday at the Musicals back to The Actors’ Church in Covent Garden, London.
Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
Join Paul Burton Productions as they present Pygmalion in its historic home of Covent Garden at the Actors' Church.
Baby Gospel - Family Concert
An uplifting family concert of soul, Motown and gospel music, featuring the astonishing vocal talents of London’s CK Gospel Choir.
Platform - Jack Miles & Friends
PLATFORM is Iris Theatre’s new initiative to champion breakout artists taking the next steps in their professional life. This event series will see the company host regular showcase nights that will run throughout 2021, spotlighting performers from a variety of disciplines. PLATFORM is open for expressions of interest all year round. If you are interested in becoming a PLATFORM artist, then you can head to our website to find more information, or e-mail us at email@example.com.
Rare and Revered
Join us for an evening of operatic arias and duets, in support of Help Musicians, the charity for professional musicians. Favourites from La bohème, Don Giovanni and La Traviata will be performed alongside wonderful, but less well known works that deserve to be heard.