London's Biggest New Theatre in Over 40 Years To Open in Olympia

Trafalgar Entertainment sign contract to operate 1,575 seat venue

Visualisation of the new theatre to be built at Olympia London
Visualisation of the new theatre to be built at Olympia London

The largest theatre in London in 45 years is set to open in the new Olympia development.

Trafalgar Entertainment have signed a contract with the developers to operate a 1,575-seat theatre which will be the biggest capacity of any area of its kind built in the capital since the National Theatre opened in 1976.

The new theatre will be designed by award-winning theatre architects, Haworth Tompkins and is likely to contain the latest innovations in technical facilities.

It will have a stacked auditorium design meaning every seat will feel close to the stage, and the area will be well ventilated. Glazed front-of-house areas will offer far-reaching views across London.

There will be a bar, hospitality and VIP facilities, which will form part of a venue that aims to be a landmark theatre in anchoring the wider Olympia redevelopment.

Currently under construction, the Olympia Theatre is scheduled to open in mid-late 2025. Trafalgar Entertainment’s lease runs for 35 years, with an option to extend for a further 35. They join entertainment brands AEG Presents, Hyatt and citizenM as anchor tenants of the new, 14-acre Olympia redevelopment.

Sir Howard Panter and Dame Rosemary Squire founded Ambassador Theatre Group from scratch and built it into the world’s largest live theatre company while running the company for 25 years. Their latest venture - Trafalgar Entertainment – specialises in theatre investment in the UK and internationally.

In addition to the new Olympia theatre, Trafalgar Entertainment’s enlarged West End theatre – the Trafalgar Theatre – will open in July with Jersey Boys following a major multi-million pound restoration. Trafalgar Entertainment also recently completed the acquisition of HQ Theatres who
operate 12 regional venues across the UK, and the major acquisition and restoration of Australia’s iconic Theatre Royal Sydney which opens with Broadway’s favourite multi award-winning musical, Alanis Morrisette’s Jagged Little Pill in September.

Visualisation of Olympia London's planned £1.3billion redevelopment

Howard Panter, said, “Looking forward to a new golden age of theatre, Olympia presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity – it is quite simply one of the most exciting new theatres London has seen for many years and we’re delighted to be playing our part as operator. Trafalgar Entertainment is determined to help the return of live entertainment across the UK: we know that audiences want passionately to return to the unique magic that is live theatre. Next month, our remodelled Trafalgar Theatre will open in the West End, Anything Goes plays a summer season at the Barbican, and we’re launching UK tours of The King and I and The Rocky Horror Show.”

Chairman of Yoo Capital, which owns the development along with Deutsche Finance International (DFI), John Hitchcox, said, “Sir Howard Panter and Dame Rosemary Squire have a unique track record in exceptional live entertainment and we are delighted to welcome Trafalgar Entertainment as the latest tenants of Olympia. Our vision is to create a new cultural hub in West London and we are looking forward to opening the largest new permanent theatre in the city for 45 years. This will be a big boost for the city’s entertainment industry and the local economy, providing the very best productions for theatre lovers and heralding a new era for theatre and entertainment in London.”

Cllr Andrew Jones, Hammersmith & Fulham Cabinet Member for the Economy, said: “Our ambitious Industrial Strategy has helped attract the largest new permanent theatre to be built in London in more than 40 years, creating new jobs for local residents and giving local young people more opportunities in the arts. The iconic Olympia London venue is a vital part of our mission to make Hammersmith & Fulham a global hotspot in culture, STEM (Science, technology, engineering and maths) and creative industries. We’re working with our vibrant theatres, concert halls and art galleries to turn H&F into a go-to destination.”

Yoo Capital and DFI are also in advanced talks with other potential occupiers of the £1.3billion project with strong interest being reported for the development’s four-screen arthouse cinema, restaurants, shops, cafés and 550,000 sq ft of office and co-working space. The Heatherwick Studio and SPPARC-designed project will also see the enhancement of the existing exhibition halls and 2.5 acres of new public space created.

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May 17, 2021