The first theatre was built in 1732. Like most theatres of the time, it was entirely destroyed by fire in 1808, and the current construction dates from 1858. Major improvements, extensions and significant renovations were made with the dawning of the third millennium. The Royal Ballet Company, previously the Sadler's Wells Ballet, settled there in 1946 with the troupe's lucky ballet: "Sleeping Beauty".
NUREYEV AND MARGOT FONTEYN
Margot Fonteyn became the most famous principal dancer there, and Nureyev's arrival in the West in 1961, led to the most improbable, most magical encounter in the history of ballet: the Fonteyn-Nureyev couple. Invited by Dame Ninette de Valois, the founding director of the Royal Ballet, Nureyev danced his first "Giselle" there with Margot Fonteyn in 1962, and became her acknowledged partner for the next 16 years. They were the glory of Covent Garden and the Royal Ballet the world over for one and a half decades in spite of their differences in age, school and style.
Nureyev restaged several "pas de deux" from the Russian classical repertoire there, the third act from "La Baydère" in 1963, then, "The Nutcracker" in 1968, and the third act of "Raymonda" in 1969.