A History of Delfont Mackintosh Theatres
In the autumn of 1990, Cameron Mackintosh received a call from Bernard Delfont asking him if he might be interested in owning two theatres. Bernard, then the owner of the Prince Edward and Prince of Wales, knew that they needed to be in the care of someone who felt as strongly as he did about their future. By February 1991 Cameron had become a partner in the theatres, only to be contacted in July 1991 from the then-freeholder of The Strand Theatre, wondering if Cameron might be the person to whom he should pass the safe custody of the building. The sale was completed by the end of November 1991, and the theatre division was renamed Delfont Mackintosh Theatres Ltd.
In September 1992 a major restoration and refurbishment of the Prince Edward Theatre began. Beautifully restored and improved, the Prince Edward Theatre reopened in March 1993 to rave reviews and hosted the hugely successful three-year run of the Gershwin musical Crazy For You.
Some years later, in 1999 the opportunity presented itself to bid for the 150 year leasehold interest in the island site block that included the Queen's and Gielgud Theatres. The acquisition of these two theatres and the office building between them was undertaken by Cameron Mackintosh Ltd and completed in March 1999. Around that time, Cameron had been looking at the acquisition of the theatres that comprised Chesterfield Properties' entertainment group Mayfair Entertainment, and by September the leases of the Queen's and Gielgud theatres were transferred to Delfont Mackintosh Theatres Ltd and in October of the same year, Gascoyne Holdings agreed to the leasehold purchase proposals for the Albery and the Wyndham's. In Spring 2002 further discussions were held, and on 15 October 2002 the freehold of the Queen's and Gielgud was purchased.
Beginning with the Prince Edward and Prince of Wales, Delfont Mackintosh took over running the then Strand Theatre on 31 March 2003 which underwent major restoration, and reopened as the Novello Theatre in December 2005 in recognition of the brilliant actor and composer Ivor Novello who lived in a flat above the theatre for 38 years. The Albery and Wyndham's Theatres came on stream on 19 September 2005 and the Gielgud Theatre joined the Queen's as a Delfont Mackintosh theatre on 25 March 2006. The fully renovated Prince of Wales Theatre reopened on 27 May 2004 with MAMMA MIA!.
The Gielgud was refurbished in two phases in 2007 and 2008 and Queen's in 2009 and 2010 before the 25th anniversary of Les Misérables. Wyndham's and the Noël Coward have also been restored to their former glory. The current redevelopment of the Victoria area has provided the unique opportunity to enlarge the Victoria Palace Theatre, which, magnificently restored for the 21st century, reopened on 6th December with the European premiere of Lin‑Manuel Miranda's acclaimed, Pulitzer Prize winning Hamilton. These significant upgrades to all eight Delfont Mackintosh theatres demonstrate Cameron Mackintosh's major financial commitment to maintaining his theatres to the highest possible standards to give audiences and artists a truly memorable theatrical experience.