WHAT’S HAPPENING AT THEATRE ROYAL DRURY LANE?
In January 2019, LW Theatres embarked on its most ambitious and exciting project to date – a £60 million refurbishment project to restore the historic Theatre Royal Drury Lane to its former 1812 glory.
Steeped in almost unrivalled theatre history over a phenomenal life that dates back to 1663, the Theatre Royal Drury Lane’s enormous list of past performers and productions reads like a who’s-who of theatrical royalty. Providing entertainment for the masses as well as every monarch since the Restoration, it’s a true institution – but one that has never been afraid of innovating with the times.
The final performance of musical 42nd Street took place on January 5 2019, and the Grade One listed theatre is now closed for restoration. The plans will not only see it restored to its original splendour but re-imagined for the 21stCentury. An incredible production of Disney’s Frozen The Musical will open at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in April 2021.
The ambitious plans not only pay great attention to retaining the building’s original features but are as much about its future as its past. When it re-opens, front of house facilities will be open to the public all day. It will include new bars, restaurants, and an afternoon tea, so the building can be enjoyed by everyone and not just those headed to the theatre.
Led by award-winning architect Steve Tompkins, the grand cantilevered Wyatt staircases which were lost 100 years ago will be revealed allowing the public to enjoy one of the world’s grandest staircases just as Benjamin Dean Wyatt intended. The audience capacity will be reduced by approximately 250 to create wider seats, more legroom and better sight lines. The auditorium will also be reshaped to create a tighter curve, bringing the performer and audience closer together. Behind the scenes there will be a new flexible staging system installed as well as a new steel grid, making the stage capable of housing the biggest musicals in the West End.
Access improvements to the building will include a new street level entrance, ramps to the stalls, a total of 20 wheelchair spaces on three levels, 5 new accessible WCs and a 16-person passenger lift catering to all floors of the theatre. In a bid to curb bathroom waiting times for women in particular, 20 female cubicles will be installed taking the number of female WCs to 55 – one of the highest provisions in the West End.