Following the opening of the newly rebranded The Other Palace (formerly the St James), we got to thinking about all the new theatres planned for the capital and beyond over the next few years. Below we round up some of the most exciting projects in the offing.
Others to look out for include the return of Southwark Playhouse to the vaults at London Bridge, the next project for found-space specialist Emily Dobbs (Found111), and whatever's to come from Tristan Baker and Runaway Entertainment following their hugely successful pop-up space King's Cross Theatre.
The Bridge Theatre
If you've been wondering what Nicks Hytner and Starr have been doing since leaving the National Theatre in 2013, then you don't have much longer to wait. That's because their new theatre company, simply named London Theatre Company, will be opening a new 900-seat theatre by Tower Bridge, simply named, you guessed it The Bridge Theatre, this Autumn. The first season launch is on 19 April, so watch out for details!
Why is it exciting? Hytner and Starr's 12 year tenure at the National boasts massive hits including Jerry Springer the Opera, The History Boys, One Man, Two Guvnors, Curious Incident and London Road. Need we say more?
The Sondheim Theatre
Currently The Ambassadors and home to the dustbin-banging rhythm show Stomp for the last 15 years. Delfont Mackintosh Theatres plans to buy the venue and create a new theatre on the site named after legendary composer Stephen Sondheim. The purchase of the venue is dependent on planning permission being granted and is unlikely to happen until next year, as the company are currently focussing on the redevelopment of the Victoria Palace.
Why is it exciting? If it all goes ahead DMT promises to make the Sondheim Theatre a venue for 'innovative productions emerging from the subsidised theatre sector'. That might mean the wonderful productions that have short runs on the fringe will have a lovely West End playhouse to transfer to.
The Nimax Theatre on the site of the old Astoria
With this new theatre on the site of the old Astoria building, Nimax will add to their empire which already includes the Apollo and Lyric on Shaftesbury Avenue. Building of the in-the-round theatre is due to start this year following the completion of works on Crossrail, with the venue expected to open in 2020.
Why is it exciting? It's the first new West End theatre for over 30 years and being within a stone's throw of the Dominion and the Shaftesbury it will create another mini theatre hub in the city.
The Curtain Theatre
When working on a new development in Shoreditch, builders discovered remains of Shakespeare's Curtain Theatre. Alongside apartments, offices and retail outlets, the area, called The Stage, will also be home to a new tourist attraction featuring the preserved remains of the theatre, a purpose-built visitors centre and sunken amphitheatre - presumably where visitors will be able to watch Shakespearean performances, although details are scarce.
Why is it exciting? It's in line to become Hackney's first scheduled ancient monument, so that's something. And anything new when it comes to Shakespeare is pretty darn exciting.
Sadler's Wells at the Olympic Park
In 2013, Islington Dance mecca Sadler's Wells announced their search for a new 500-seat venue to stage contemporary dance pieces more suited to a smaller venue than its main theatre. From plans released at the end of last year, it looks like they have settled on a new development, named Olympicopolis, at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. If it goes ahead, its new neighbours will include the V&A and London College of Fashion.
Why is it exciting? A juggernaut of dance like Sadler's Wells investing in a new venue specifically for smaller-scale contemporary dance will inevitably mean better opportunities for upcoming dance professionals.
OK, this is not in London, but it's very exciting, even Judi Dench is bloody excited. For too long fans of the Bard in the north have had to travel down to Stratford-upon-Avon or London for a dedicated Shakespeare venue. Until now. The Shakespeare North Playhouse, a new theatre and education hub in Knowsley, Merseyside, has been granted planning permission.
Building work has commenced on the £19 million building which will house a 350-seat theatre built to designs drawn by Inigo Jones in 1629. It will be the only replica in the world of Jones' indoor Jacobean Court Theatre.
Why is it exciting? Need you ask? The Jones connection, a beautiful new playhouse for the north west, continued investment in the preservation and promotion of Shakespeare's work...
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