The Theatre Royal Haymarket was built in 1821 on the remains of a smaller theatre illegally built by a carpenter named John Porter. Initially called the Little Theatre it was mainly used to stage satires attacking political establishment and the Royal families. At that time, it was forbidden to stage drama other than at Drury Lane or Covent Garden. This resulted in the passing of the Licensing Act of 1737 and led to the official agency under the Lord Chamberlain for the censorship of all plays.
Tumultuous riots occurred in most of early production to be staged at the Little Theatre. In 1821, David Morris took control of the building and commissioned the construction of the present theatre which was designed by John Nash in 1821. The Corinthian portico was built in such a way that it could be seen from St James Square.
The auditorium and interior went through major changes, first in 1879 when it was completely replaced. Then in 1905 when a large house of 906 seats in rich Louis XVI style was introduced. Finally, in 1994 a major refurbishment of £2.3 million gave the interior the splendour it deserved.
The Theatre Royal Haymarket went under various managements such as Benjamin Webster and Herbert Beerbohm Tree. Tree used the profit from the success of Trillby to build what is known today as the house of The Phantom of the Opera, Her Majesty's Theatre.
Listed as Grade 1 under the 1971 Act, the Theatre Royal Haymarket can't be rebuilt or demolished!