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West End's Windmill reopens following major refurbishment

The historic venue was made famous by Mrs Henderson

Publicity image for The Windmill Soho

Iconic West End venue The Windmill, famous for being the first theatre to showcase nude performers, is reopening this week following a major refurbishment.

The Windmill Soho as it is now called was acquired by Amrit Walia and Ryan Bishti (founder of Cream group) in 2018, and will stage dinner shows featuring "a modern twist on cabaret".

First opened in 1910, the 320-seat theatre was transformed into an infamous revue bar in the 1930s by Laura Henderson, who was immortalised on screen by Judi Dench in Mrs Henderson Presents. The famous 'Windmill Girls' were the first nude performers to be sanctioned by the Lord Chamberlain, on condition they appeared in motionless tableaux.

Its stage has subsequently played host to acts including Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles. The new venue will offer a range of cocktails designed by Andy Mil that "pay homage to The Windmill's extraordinary history".

The dining menu meanwhile is being overseen by Michelin starred chef Andrew McLeish, with the theatre programme under the direction of Elizabeth West and Camilla Bishti.

Amrit Walia said: "In the 1930's Laura Henderson famously broke conventions and challenged norms to create the famous institution known as The Windmill Theatre. Our audacious vision is to continue her legacy and elevate this iconic venue for the next generation of Theatre goers and 'bon viveurs'.

"Our ambitious refurbishment and our unique-to-London innovations make The Windmill a must-visit attraction. Mrs Henderson memorably refused to close the Windmill throughout the Blitz and in this same spirit our dedicated team has worked through the pandemic making this landmark site the home of theatre reimagined."

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