Odeon Covent Garden
Formerly known as Saville Theatre, this mid-20th-century entertainment hub includes an ornate frieze.
Visitors to London who find themselves touring the ever-popular Covent Garden district might overlook a rather unique work of public architecture. Spanning the length of nearly 130 feet along the building is a concrete art piece entitled “Drama Through The Ages.” This stone carving is the work of the English sculpture Gilbert Bayes. It depicts various theatrical presentations throughout history.
Starting from the left and moving to the right, the design begins with minstrel players and St. George, then ends with the Romantics and the 20th-century. A keen observer may spot Punch and Judy, Faust, as well as characters from Shakespeare.
This Grade II listed building has passed through many hands since opening during the 1920s. During the 1960s, it was owned by Brian Epstein, who managed the Beatles. They, along with The Who, Eton John, and many others performed inside. In the 1970s, the building was taken over by the parent company of Odeon Cinemas.
During its heyday from 1920-1930, the building provided pleasure seekers a variety of entertainment. Besides showcasing the latest in cinema, there were also live theatrical productions and touring dance companies. The complex not only offered liquid refreshments, but also displayed the latest in fashions from leading West End stores.
Know Before You Go
The exterior of the building, including the mural, can be viewed at anytime.
The interior is accessible, but is currently under the ownership of Odeon Cinema. This is a fully operationally theatre. Check website for hours of operations.
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