Trafalgar Studios

Trafalgar Studios

Infobox Theatre
name = Trafalgar Studios

caption = Trafalgar Studios, July 2007
address = Whitehall
city = Westminster, London
country =
designation = Grade II
latitude = 51.507778
longitude = -0.1275
architect = Edward A. Stone
owner = Ambassador Theatre Group
capacity = Studio 1 380 seats Studio 2 100 seats
type = West End theatre
opened = 29 September 1930
yearsactive =
rebuilt = 2004 Tim Foster and John Muir
closed =
othernames = Whitehall Theatre
production = Fat Pig
currentuse =
website =

Trafalgar Studios is a West End theatre in Whitehall in the City of Westminster.

Also known as Trafalgar Studios at the Whitehall Theatre in honour of its former incarnation, the building consists of two intimate theatres designed by architects Tim Foster and John Muir. Studio 1, the larger of the two spaces with 380 seats, opened on June 3, 2004 with the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of "Othello". Studio 2, with 100 seats, opened in October 2005 with the play "Cyprus".

The original Whitehall Theatre, built on the site of the 17th century "Ye Old Ship Tavern" was designed by Edward A. Stone, with interiors in the Art Deco style by Marc-Henri and Laverdet. The theatre opened on September 29, 1930 with "The Way to Treat a Woman" by Walter Hackett, who was the theatre's licensee. In November 1933 Henry Daniell appeared there as Portman in "Afterwards". Hackett presented several other plays of his own before leaving in 1934, and the theatre built its reputation for modern comedies throughout the rest of the decade. During World War II it housed revues, which had become commonplace entertainment throughout the West End. In 1942, "The Whitehall Follies", featuring Phyllis Dixey, the first stripper to perform in the theatre district, opened with great fanfare and became an immediate success. Dixey leased the theatre and remained in it for the next five years. A series of farces, presented under the umbrella title "The Whitehall Farces" by producer Lord Brian Rix, were staged over the next twenty-two years, with many of them televised.

In 1969 a nude revue called "Pyjama Tops" took over the venue and remained for five years, after which the building was shuttered. After considerable refurbishment that retained most of its Art Deco features, it reopened on March 5, 1986 with a successful revival of J. B. Priestley's "When We Are Married". Subsequent productions included "When I Was a Girl I Used to Scream and Shout", "The Importance of Being Earnest", "The Foreigner", "Run For Your Wife", "Absurd Person Singular", "Travels with My Aunt", tributes to Patsy Cline, Roy Orbison, and the Blues Brothers, and solo performances by Ennio Marchetto and Maria Friedman.

Between 1997 and 1999, the theatre was converted into a television and radio studio used primarily to broadcast Jack Docherty's popular talk show and BBC Radio 4's "Live from London". It returned to theatrical use, with such productions as "The Three Sisters", "Puppetry of the Penis", ""Art"", "Rat Pack Confidential", and "Sing-a-Long-a-ABBA", before its owner, the Ambassador Theatre Group, announced the building would be reconfigured and reopen with a new name.

Past productions at Trafalgar Studios include "Sweeney Todd", Alan Bennett's "The Old Country", an adaptation of "Jane Eyre", and "Bent".

The theatre was Grade II listed by English Heritage in December 1996, noting "The auditorium has a decorative cohesion and prettiness rare in theatres of its day, and has the best surviving original fabric of this type of theatre" [ [ English Heritage listing details] accessed 28 April 2007] .

Recent and present productions

* "Sweeney Todd" (27 July 2004 - 9 October 2004 "transferred to The Ambassadors Theatre") by Stephen Sondheim
* "Simply Heavenly" (25 October 2004 - 19 February 2005) by David Martin and Langston Hugues, starring Clive Rowe
* "Losing Louis" (23 February 2005 - 25 June 2005) by Simon Mendes da Costa, starring Alison Steadman
* "Shoot the Crow" (11 October 2005 - 10 December 2006) by Owen McCafferty, starring James Nesbitt and Conleth Hill
* The RSC's "A New Way To Please You" (22 December 2005 - 31 December 2005) by Thomas Middleton and William Rowley
* The RSC's "Sir Thomas More" (5 January 2006 - 14 January 2006) by Anthony Munday, William Shakespeare and others
* The RSC's "" (18 January 2006 - 28 January 2006) by Ben Jonson
* The RSC's "Believe What You Will" (1 February 2006 - 11 February 2006) by Philip Massinger
* The RSC's "Speaking Like Magpies" (15 February 2006 - 25 February 2006) by Frank McGuinness
* "The Old Country" (20 March 2006 - 6 May 2006) by Alan Bennett, starring Timothy West
* "Jane Eyre" (12 May 2006 - 19 August 2006) by Polly Teale adapted from Charlotte Brontë
* "Bent" (5 October 2006 - 13 January 2007) by Martin Sherman, starring Alan Cumming
* "The Dumb Waiter" (8 February - 24 March 2007) by Harold Pinter, starring Lee Evans and Jason Isaacs
* "African Snow" (24 April - 5 May 2007) by Murray Watts, directed by Paul Burbridge. Riding Lights Theatre Company Production
* "Elling" (4 July 2007 - 6 October 2007) by Simon Bent, starring John Simm and Adrian Bower
* "When You've Got It, Flaunt It" (6 September 2007), starring David Bedella, Clive Rowe, Daniel Boys, John Partridge, Simon Lipkin, Helen Hobson and Jon Robyns
* "A Night In November" (15 October 2007 - 1 December 2007) by Marie Jones, starring Patrick Kielty
* "Dealer's Choice" (6 December 2007 - 29 March 2008) by Patrick Marber, starring Roger Lloyd Pack, Stephen Wight, Malcolm Sinclair and Samuel Barnett
* "Visiting Mr. Green" (3 April 2008 - 10 May 2008) by Jeff Baron, starring Warren Mitchell and Gideon Turner
* "Fat Pig" (27 May 2008 - 6 September 2008) by Neil LaBute, starring Robert Webb, Kris Marshall and Joanna Page
* "Riflemind" (15 September 2008 - 3 January 2009)

Nearby Tube stations

* Charing Cross
* Embankment
* Westminster


* "Guide to British Theatres 1750-1950", John Earl and Michael Sell pp. 146-7 (Theatres Trust, 2000) ISBN 0-7136-5688-3
* [ Theatre history]

* "Who's Who in the Theatre", edited by John Parker, tenth edition, revised, London, 1947, pps: 477-478.

External links

* [ Official website]
* [ History of the Whitehall Theatre]

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