The Shaftesbury Theatre in London, home of smash-hit musical & Juliet, has revealed the next phase in its redevelopment plans.
The Grade 2 listed theatre has been undergoing an extension and improvement scheme, with architects Bennetts Associates, who worked on the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and The Old Vic, masterminding the works,
The initial works were inspired by Camden Council planning to pedestrianise the circus and street outside the theatre, and has led to the Shaftesbury Theatre developing new spaces to increase the foyer size, create new bars and workspaces, and address accessibility and comfort in the auditorium.
This month will see the next stage of the £10 million plus re-development start, which will include refashioning the auditorium to provide a separation between the Stalls and new spaces; a new 26 metre long “1911” Stalls bar, named to celebrate the year the theatre opened; the Taffner Suite for private hospitality, named in honour of successful US TV executive and former Chairman of the Shaftesbury’s Theatre of Comedy, Don Taffner Sr.; plus lots of new toilets, re-foofing, a state-of-the-art air-con system, work on the historic ceilings, a lift, and more wheelchair spaces.
Immediate work will focus on replacing the Stalls ladies’ toilets, and refurbishing and enlarging the Circle bar – to be rename the “Bertie Crewe” after the theatre’s original architect. The Grand Bar is also going to be renamed, to the “Melville”, after the brothers who built the theatre in 1911 – which was originally called the New Princes Theatre. Finally, the Royal Circle is getting a new hospitality area called the “Ray Cooney” after the playwright and actor who found the Theatre of Comedy, owners of the theatre.
Redecoration, carpeting and reseating in the auditorium is also planned, as well as putting a new main entrance in, and digital signage.
The theatre is owned by Don Taffner Jr who became chairman in 2011, succeeding his father Don Taffner Sr. The Theatre of Comedy company has been led by James Williams since 2004.
Book & Juliet tickets at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London