Trafalgar Studios in London’s West End theatre district has been granted planning permission to convert the venue back into single performance space.
The changes will see the theatre restored to its original Art Deco style, with the reinstatement of the venue’s balcony and the removal of the smaller Trafalgar Studios 2 space.
The theatre, formerly known as the Whitehall, was converted into a two-theatre complex in 2004 by owners ATG and rechristened as Trafalgar Studios.
Rosemary Squire and Howard Panter, who ran ATG at the time, and now run the venue under Trafalgar Entertainment 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 light 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.