Most keen London theatre-goers will have had some great times at Trafalgar Studios, the Downing Street-adjacent theatre that offered a home to, amongst other things, Jamie Lloyd’s super-starry Trafalgar Transformed seasons. But even its most ardent defenders would struggle to deny that it was one of the most uncomfortable theatres in London, probably the world, probably the galaxy; that goes double for its second studio, a place so cramped that it felt like it was in contravention of several major international human rights treaties. It was also one of the worst-looking theatres in London, aggressively boxy and bland.
Anyway, long story short, owners Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire apparently felt the same way, and have pumped literally millions of pounds into genuinely transforming Trafalgar Studios, giving it a ravishing revamp that harks back to the building’s first incarnation, Whitehall Theatre. The second studio and the bland, functional decor have gone, replaced by Art Deco stylings – some of them original features of the Whitehall, which opened in 1930 – and converting the main house’s 380 seats into a more robust 650.
It’ll reopen with the return of classic West End musical ‘Jersey Boys’, which stayed around for nine years last time it came to town. You imagine it won’t make it quite so long the second time, but if you’re looking for an excuse to sing along to Frankie Valli’s greatest hits again, then the lure of the opulent new surrounds is surely more than enough. If you’re not going to make it down soon, just drink in these photos.
‘Jersey Boys’ runs at Trafalgar Theatre, Jul 28-Jan 2 2022.