Photo by Trafalgar Theatre
Photo by Trafalgar Theatre
  • Theatre
  • Whitehall

Trafalgar Theatre

This modern theatre is a no-frills home for the edgier end of proper drama


Time Out says

As of April 2021, Trafalgar Studios is due to reopen as the revamped Trafalgar Theatre, a larger and more conventional venue with no second studio

A kitsch-free rebel on the outskirts of theatreland, Trafalgar Studios is a modern, minimalist, not-especially comfortable space in the shell of the former Whitehall Theatre. Its two studios tend to present emerging, established and international talent with varied success. Director Jamie Lloyd successfully scuffed it up for a trio of big name, youth-focussed seasons under the banner of Trafalgar Transformed, but this seems to have ended, and the venue potters on much as it did before. The 380 seater Studio One tends to play host to celebrity-led productions that run for a few months, as well as transfers from big producing houses like the NT's 'Nine Night'. With just 100 seats, Studio Two is essentially a glorified fringe theatre, and often hosts shows from the likes of the Finborough and Theatre 503.

Trafalgar Studios assumed its current form in 2004, when an ambitious conversion turned the austere art deco 1930s theatre into two spaces: the dress circle was turned into Studio One, with a new elevated stage, while the former stalls area was turned into Studio Two. The great divide marked a change of pace, too. The old Whitehall Theatre was best known for Brian Rix's so-called Whitehall farces, a series of five long-running comedies in the '50s and '60s which featured crowd-pleasingly silly plotlines full of misunderstandings and trouser-dropping mishaps. And in grey wartime Britain, the Whitehall follies featured naked turns from Phyllis Dixey, who tickled audiences with dances with feathered fans in the West End's first stripshow.


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What’s on

People, Places and Things

4 out of 5 stars

‘People, Places and Things’ in 2024 is never going to be quite the same thing as ‘People, Places and Things’ in 2015: so much of the thrill of its initial ascent lay in being there to watch actor Denise Gough explode in stature from relative unknown to all-time great right in front of our eyes. As Jeremy Herrin’s original production of Duncan Macmillan’s smash addiction drama returns, it’s now a given that Gough – among other things now a fixture of the ‘Star Wars’ universe – will deliver a phenomenal performance. And she does!  She is beyond tremendous as Emma, a booze-and-drugs-addled actor who we first meet slurring her way through a performance of ‘The Seagull’ before flaming out at a club night and checking herself into a rehab centre. Disorientated and pugnacious, as she dries out and gathers her wits she begins to rail against the 12-step programme and the very idea of sobriety, essentially declaring her self-destructive lifestyle to be an appropriate response to the pointlessness of human existence. Gough is magnificent and absurd in equal measure, a performance that’s simultaneously high comedy and high tragedy. Still, the third time around I felt complacent enough about Gough’s greatness that some of the play’s flatter bits bothered me a little more. While Herrin’s kinetic production – with its pounding beats and screaming clones of Emma – is rarely boring, it does somewhat bog down once Emma sobers up and reluctantly agrees to therapy. Her newfound rehab bestie Mar

  • Drama

The Duchess

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  • Drama
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