The Theatre Royal Drury Lane will reopen as part of a destination venue known collectively as "The Lane" in 2020, it has been announced.
Update: LW Theatres has issued an updated statement on the venue:
"LW Theatres is in the middle of a £60 million restoration project of Theatre Royal Drury Lane. The ambitious scheme not only encompasses the complete refurbishment of the magnificent 1812 Greek Revival ‘front of house' designed by Benjamin Wyatt, but also the reconstruction of the stage facilities and dressing rooms, the creation of new bars and the restaurant, plus the refashioning of the auditorium to make it able to play in both the traditional proscenium arch and in the round.
"The destination, incorporating the new bars, restaurant and theatre, will re-open as ‘The Lane' in autumn 2020. Whilst Theatre Royal Drury Lane will still showcase world class theatre, front of house facilities will be open to the public all day so the theatre's iconic interiors can be enjoyed by everyone and not just those headed to a show."
The company initially stated that "the theatre will re-open as ‘The Lane' in autumn 2020", but has since gone on to state that the auditorium will retain its original name.
The venue is currently closed for a 20-month £60 million renovation, and will re-open with the West End premiere of Frozen in October 2020. The works include a reduction of an audience of 200 in order to create wider seats with more legroom and better sightlines.
There will also be a choice of proscenium arch or in-the-round configuration once the works are complete. Access improvements include a new street-level entrance, ramps to the stalls and new accessible toilets. There will also be a 16-person passenger lift which goes to each level of the theatre. Twenty new female cubicles will be installed.
Architects Haworth Tompkins leads work on the cantilevered Wyatt staircases, which will be revealed after being lost 100 years ago. New bars, cafes and restaurants will also be created not just for theatre attendees.
The oldest theatre site in the country and a Grade I listed building, Theatre Royal, Drury Lane last underwent building work in 2013 to celebrate the venue's 350th anniversary, with the Grand Saloon and the Wyatt Foyer restored to their original Georgian style aided by a team of period experts. It currently has a capacity of 2,196.