The West End’s Trafalgar Studios, carved from the former Whitehall Theatre, will make good on its pluralised name next month when it inaugurates the 100-seat Studio 2, which will house a full programme of limited season productions playing concurrently with the longer runs of the 400-seat Studio 1, which launched last June (See News, 7 Apr 2004).

The Studio 2 schedule launches with a four-week season of Cyprus, a new British spy thriller by Peter Arnott, which was specially commissioned by the Mull Theatre on the Scottish Isle of Mull, where the story is set. It runs from 16 November to 17 December 2005. Cyprus is followed, from 20 December 2005 to 7 January 2006, by a festive season of Joanna Volinska’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic about the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge A Christmas Carol, care of Horla Theatre.

In the new year, there will be a succession of solo pieces. Kahlil Ashanti brings Basic Training, his autobiographical show about his time in a US Air Force entertainment troupe, to the venue from 9 to 28 January 2005, presented by Barry Josephson. Colin Teevan’s Missing Persons: Four Tragedies and Roy Keane, follows from 31 January to 25 February 2006. Greg Hicks - who opens this week as Tamburlaine at Bristol Vic ahead of the Barbican– reprises his hit Edinburgh Fringe performance in the production presented by Eleanor Lloyd and Critical Mass (See The Goss, 22 Aug 2005).

And, finally, the Bristol Old Vic and Scamp co-production of Simon Reade’s adaptation of Michael Morpugo’s award-winning children’s book Private Peaceful transfers to Studio 2, from 27 February to 25 March 2005, following an extensive regional tour (See News, 18 Aug 2005).

The larger, 400-seat Trafalgar Studio 1 has been presenting productions – including the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Othello and the musicals Sweeney Todd and Simply Heavenly - since last June. After a temporary closure while work occurred on its sister space, Studio 1 has resumed performances with Owen McCafferty’s Shoot the Crow, which stars Cold Feet’s James Nesbitt and double Olivier Award winner Conleth Hill and which opens next Tuesday 11 October 2005 (previews from 28 September). It will be followed, from 21 December 2005 to 25 February 2006, by the ten-week transfer of the RSC’s five-play Gunpowder season from Stratford-upon-Avon (See News, 26 Aug 205).

Though an exact sum has not been disclosed, Studio 2 has been funded by a “generous donation” from arts champion Christina Smith. Howard Panter, managing director of Studios owner, the Ambassador Theatre Group, said: “Thanks to the exceptional generosity of Christina Smith, we’ve been able to complete our Trafalgar Studios’ vision of extraordinary theatre playing in the centre of London, which otherwise wouldn’t have a home, never mind in such thrilling spaces.”

- by Terri Paddock