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The Alhambra Theatre dominated Leicester Square in 1874
|Address||23–27 Leicester Square|
|Years active||1854– ??|
|Architect||T. Hayter Lewis|
The Alhambra Theatre of Variety was a popular music hall located at Leicester Square, in the West End of London, England. It was built originally as the Royal Panopticon of Science and Arts opening on 18 March 1854.
The Alhambra Theatre of Variety became a model for Parisian music halls. Some years before the Folies-Bergere it staged circus attractions alongside popular ballets in 55 new productions between 1864 and 1870.
The Alhambra Theatre of Variety was predominantly used for the popular entertainment of the day. The usual music hall acts were performed, as well as the début of Jules Léotard performing his aerial act, above the heads of diners in May 1861. Other entertainments included "patriotic demonstrations" celebrating the British Empire and British military successes. The theatre also staged ballet and light opera. In the 1860s, John Hollingshead took over the management and made it famous for its corps de ballet.
The Alhambra Theatre of Variety moved into 23–27 Leicester Square, where previously the Royal Panopticon of Science and Art was housed for two years. The Alhambra Theatre of Variety opened 3 April 1858. Inside the building a central rotunda. There was a secondary entrance to the rear on Charing Cross Road.