Designed by the architect brothers William and T.R Millburn, the Dominion opened on 3rd October 1929 and is a Grade II listed building. The site on which the theatre sits was previously the home of a brewery and a funfair. Much like the Apollo Victoria theatre, the Dominion was originally built as a mega-cinema with 3 tiers. Today the third tier of seats has gone and the originally capacity reduced to just over 2000.
After the first few years of ‘talkies’, the theatre become the home of opera, variety acts and dance performances. In the 1950s and 1960s it presented long runs of musicals films including The Sound of Music and South Pacific, as well as presenting huge, lavish concerts by famous people like Judy Garland, Maurice Chevalier, Sophie Tucker and Shirley MacLaine.
The infamous Dave Clark musical staring Cliff Richard, Time, opened there at the Dominion Theatre in 1986. The musical was Richard’s West End debut and also featured the legendary Laurence Olivier… as a hologram!
Two big West End flops have also been through the doors of the theatre: Bernadette and the Broadway transfer of Grand Hotel. In July 1993, the musical Grease opened to great acclaim, securing a long run until it eventually moved to the Cambridge Theatre in October 1996. Some other notable shows staged at the theatre include Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Notre Dame de Paris and several Royal Variety Performances.
In 2002, Ben Elton’s musical We Will Rock You, based on the music of rock band Queen, opened at the Dominion and has gone on to become the longest-running show ever at the venue. The production was hit and miss with the critics, but the public voted with their feet and made it one of the most popular West End musicals.