Historic London theatre to reopen after multimillion-pound restoration

The curtain goes up on Monday on at least one piece of certain good news for the troubled West End. After an investment of tens of millions of pounds from its owners, London’s Grade II-listed Trafalgar theatre, close to Trafalgar Square, has had a complete restoration – taking it back to its grand 1930s design, much of which had been hidden for almost a century.

Theatrical impresarios Sir Howard Panter and Dame Rosemary Squire are behind the renovation, overseen by architects Foster Wilson Size.

“Underneath the shell of the Trafalgar Studios, there was a remarkable art deco building, and through the painstaking restoration work we have completed alongside all the relevant historical partners, we have a beautiful, genuinely unique theatre fit for 21st-century audiences to come and enjoy Jersey Boys and many more shows to come,” said Panter. “The theatre is complete and ready, the set is built, the cast are signed and we now just long to be allowed to let the audience return and enjoy being back in the theatre.”

Black, silver, bronze and gold – the original palette of the interior – sets the art deco tone, while the front of the Balcony, stowed away for years while the venue operated as two studio spaces, has been refitted to face the restored proscenium arch in a single 630-seat auditorium.

“Trafalgar theatre, in its many guises, has always been a culturally important building, whether serving as a television studio, a museum or a theatre. We are proud to be the custodians of the theatre at this time,” said Squire, who with Panter, runs Trafalgar Entertainment, also owners of the 1,575-seat Olympia theatre, which will be the biggest new permanent theatre to open in London since the 1970s. It’s scheduled to open in 2025.

The hit musical Jersey Boys will be the first major musical production at Trafalgar theatre and is due to return to the West End on 28 July.

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