With a history of only 81 years, The Trafalgar Studios has been through quite a transformation. First opened as a theatre in 1930 on Whitehall, off Trafalgar Square the newly opened Whitehall Theatre was a 2 level theatre decorated in the art deco style opened with The Way to Treat a Woman by Walter Hackett starting it's reputation as a venue for modern comedies.
Following the trend during the war years in the 1940's, the Trafalgar Studios (still then known as the Whitehall Theatre) started to show revues, most famously from 1942 The Whitehall Follies performed for 5 years featuring Phyllis Dixey as the first female stripper to perform in the West End. Peforming in the buff seemed to be feature for this venue! After a series of WhitehAll farces being produced at the venue for the next 22 years, 1969 saw the a all nude revue Pyjama Tops being performed for the next 5 years. Whitehall Theatre closed it's doors after that landmark production until 1986 opening to a successful revival of J.B's play, When We Are Married.
Between 1997 to 1999 the venue was used a tv studio until closing for a complete revamp to be newly renamed in 2004 as the Trafalgar Studios.
The venue was completely rebuilt with the old stalls secion becoming a small stage seating 100 people. This part was named Trafalgar Studios 2 and is a small stage with just 3 rows wrapped around the stage in 3 parts. You could sit in Row A and feel you are on stage with the performers! The first production to be staged was Cyprus in 2005.
The part of the theatre that was originally the circle was extended down to the stage, for a venue seating 380. This became known as Trafalgar Studios 1. The venue made it's debut with the play Othello by the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Since then the venue has become known for featuring many new directors and writers, particularly in Studio 2 and has many successful shows that mostly show for a limited run. It also has associated with the Donmar Warehouse Theatre productions.
Recent successes include End of The Rainbow, the biopic of Judy Garland's last concerts in london before her date featuring a tour de force award winning performance by Tracie Bennett. Current hit at the Trafalgar Studios is Three Days In May. Set during World War 2 and starring Warren Clarke as Winston Churchill, the play has received critical and commerical success.
Upcoming productions are Sex With A Stranger starring Russell Tovey and Jamie Winstone and The Leisure Society featuring a West End debut by Agyness Deyn.
With so many productions and prices that are affordable, a night out in the West End should be at the Trafalgar Studios where you can be up and close personal with your favourite theatre actors!
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