“It is like discovering Tutankhamun’s tomb for the first time.” – Sir Howard Panter
Leading theatre impresarios and Joint CEOs of Trafalgar Entertainment, Sir Howard Panter and Dame Rosemary Squire, are delighted to unveil the first glimpse of the beautifully renovated Trafalgar Theatre.
The spectacular Grade II listed glorious Trafalgar Theatre is the result of a major multi-million pound restoration project reinstating the theatre back to its original heritage 1930’s design, some of which has not been seen for over 90 years.
The first look images released today show the new single 630 seat auditorium with brand new specially designed comfortable seats. Alongside the auditorium, there is an enhanced guest experience including a new look stalls bar, new spacious foyer and improvements to the toilets, including installing more ladies toilets.
Within the auditorium, the newly restored decoration and lighting is black with silver, bronze and gold metallic hints, reflective of the original interior’s colour palette. Using historical photographs as a reference the auditorium carpet and seating fabric replicate the original designs patterns, with greens, creams and yellows to contrast against the monochrome walls. The Balcony front – that had been carefully stored away for a number of years when the theatre was two studio spaces – has been beautifully restored and refitted to spectacular effect, along with the grand ceiling and proscenium arch.
Elsewhere, the new entrance foyer provides new more spacious bars and a new box office with tiling and details inspired by the original 1930s foyer design. Technical facilities have been fully upgraded throughout, with extensive service upgrades that include more powerful and energy efficient ventilation systems.
To herald this exciting new era for the Trafalgar Theatre, the Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-winning international phenomenon Jersey Boys will be the first major musical production to play at Trafalgar Theatre when it returns to London’s West End on 28 July 2021.
Howard Panter said: “Underneath the shell of the Trafalgar Studios, there was a remarkable art deco building, and through the painstaking restoration work we have completed alongside all the relevant historical partners, we have a beautiful genuinely unique theatre fit for 21st century audiences to come and enjoy Jersey Boys and many more shows to come. The theatre is complete and ready, the set is built, the cast are signed and we now just long to be allowed to let the audience return and enjoy being back in the theatre from July 28th”
Speaking about the return of Jersey Boys to the West End, Panter added: “Jersey Boys continues to be one of the world’s favourite musicals. It’s a true global phenomenon. We are delighted the creative team are coming back together to deliver a bespoke version of this beloved musical to London.
Rosemary Squire said: “Trafalgar Theatre is steeped in cultural significance and has been lovingly restored back to its original heritage design. During the restoration process there was great care and attention to detail with all the design elements and we carried out huge amounts of research to ensure that the renovation was authentic in terms of design and style.
“Trafalgar Theatre, in its many guises, has always been a culturally important building, whether serving as a television studio, a museum or a theatre. We are proud to be the custodians of the theatre at this time and feel honoured to have overseen this restoration project during our tenure. We’re also in a really unique location surrounded by some of London’s major landmarks – Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, Downing Street, Buckingham Palace – and that really sets it apart from other London theatres.
“The restoration carried out by Foster Wilson Size is a great reset for the theatre and a new beginning for everyone. By returning the theatre to its former glory we are honouring its history as we continue to share stories on its stage.”
Today’s impending government announcement about the planned lifting of social distancing measures restrictions on 21 June is an important moment for the live entertainment industry. Venues including the Trafalgar Theatre need to see the relaxing of social distancing measures in order to viably reopen most theatre venues.
The redevelopment of Trafalgar Theatre was overseen by the award-winning Foster Wilson Size who have previously led projects at the Eventim Apollo Hammersmith, Barbican Concert Hall, the Apollo Victoria Theatre and the Southampton Mayflower.
Jonathan Size, Partner at Foster Wilson Size, said: ‘It’s been a real privilege to be part of the team responsible for reinstating this much-loved theatre. By converting the theatre back to its original form as a single split level auditorium it will enable the theatre to host longer runs of shows, allowing people to enjoy the legacy of the building for years to come.’
The investment in Trafalgar Theatre is another major show of confidence in live entertainment from Trafalgar Entertainment who remain committed to expanding across the UK and internationally with other entertainment venues. As well as owners of the Trafalgar Theatre, they own the 1575-seat Olympia Theatre which will be the biggest new permanent theatre to open in London since the 1970s, Sydney’s 1200-seat Theatre Royal due to open in September with the Broadway hit ‘Jagged Little Pill,’ and also owners of the a new luxury members club cinema complex, Chiswick Cinema, opening later this month in Chiswick, London. Trafalgar Entertainment recently announced the acquisition of HQ Theatres and Hospitality including 12 theatres regionally across the UK, and is also working on other venue developments in the UK, Australia and world-wide.