Trafalgar Studios to be reconverted back into one auditorium
It's no longer a tale of two studios. Building permission has now been granted for Trafalgar Studios to transform its space back into its original single auditorium design. It is unknown at press time whether the venue will retain its name or when the conversion is due to commence.
Planning permission to reconfigure Trafalgar Studios has been granted
Planning permission has been granted for West End venue Trafalgar Studios to convert its space back into a single auditorium. Plans for the redesign were originally released online back in February 2020 and revealed that the smaller auditorium, Trafalgar Studios 2, will be removed to reinstate the venue's former balcony space.
The venue's owners Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire attached a letter to the planning application, which stated that 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."
Trafalgar Studios was once known as the Whitehall Theatre. In 2004, it underwent a conversion into a double-auditorium complex and was renamed.
Squire and Panter provided a ground for the reconfiguration: "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."
What will the new renovation of Trafalgar Studios entail?
The new auditorium will feature a seating capacity of 630 and play host to bigger shows with longer runs. New light fixtures reminiscent of the original 1930s decor will be installed while other alterations included renovated toilets, new stores and bar counters, a new carpeting and paint scheme for the auditorium, new seating based on the original layout from the 1920s, and a reimagined entrance hall. Boxes will also be making a comeback.
Squire and Panter also mentioned: "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."