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Trafalgar Studios to be turned back into a single auditorium space

Planning permission has been granted for the redesign

Trafalgar Studios
© Philafrenzy / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

Planning permission has been granted for Trafalgar Studios to be converted back into a single auditorium.

As per initial reports in The Stage and plans released online in February 2020, the redesign will re-instate the venue's balcony and remove the smaller Trafalgar Studios 2 space.

According to a letter from venue owners Rosemary Squire and Howard Panter attached to the planning application, the construction works would "convert the venue back to a single auditorium, restoring its Art Deco style in a manner sympathetic to its original 1930s construction."

The theatre, formerly known as the Whitehall, was converted into a two-theatre complex in 2004 and rechristened as Trafalgar Studios.

Squire and Panter justified the move on the grounds that: "At the time of the conversion in 2004, the West End lacked smaller performance space which could accommodate developing talent in our industry to present new work. While the Theatre originally met that need, in the 15+ years since its conversion there have been a number of new venues in the West End and central London (such as The Bridge Theatre, The Boulevard Theatre and – imminently – the new Nimax Theatre on the site of the old Astoria) which address that need in purpose-built venues, without the compromises inherent in converting an existing older building."

The new auditorium will be a 630-seat space designed for shows with longer runs, with many producers, the pair have said, interested in utilising the venue in the future. New lighting fittings, in keeping with the 1930s decor, will also be added. Other alterations include refurbished toilets, new bar counters and stores, a new paint scheme and carpeting in the auditorium, boxes being returned to use, new seating based on the original 1920s layout, and a reimagined entrance foyer space.

The pair also said: "The original circle front, which was removed, was saved and is stored in the Theatre. The reversible design approach adopted in 2004 means that the re-conversion of the Theatre to its original form can be achieved relatively easily, and without major structural alterations."

It is unknown when building work will commence, or if the venue will retain its current title.

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