Trafalgar Studios is London’s most exciting new venue. Formerly The Whitehall Theatre until 2004, is a West End theatre in Whitehall, near Trafalgar Square, in the City of Westminster, London. It is a unique development with two intimate, flexible and dynamic performance spaces -Studio 1 and Studio 2. Trafalgar Studios prides itself as a starting place for new productions to find their home in London.
November 2005 saw Owen McCafferty’s new play Shoot The Crow, starring James Nesbitt, Conleth Hill and Jim Norton launch our Autumn/Winter 2005-06 season in Studio 1. The RSC’s Gunpowder Season consolidates their link with Trafalgar Studios (their Othello, starring Antony Sher, opened the theatre in Spring 2004).
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. Studio 2 features innovative work from both national and international companies.
Trafalgar Studios History
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 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".
Trafalgar Studios 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 Sejanus: His Fall (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, [ 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 transferred to The Comedy Theatre) by Neil LaBute, starring Robert Webb, Kris Marshall and Joanna Page
Riflemind (15 September 2008 - 26 October 2008)
Maria Friedman - Rearranged (3 December - 3 January 2009)
Entertaining Mr Sloane (30 January - 11 April 2009, by Joe Orton, starring Imelda Staunton and Matthew Horne
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (14 April - 9 May 2009) by Edward Albee, starring Matthew Kelly
Ordinary Dreams; Or How to Survive a Meltdown with Flair (12 May - 6 June 2009) by Marcus Markou, starring James Lance and Adrian Bower
The Last Cigarette (29 April - 1 August 2009) by Hugh Whitemore and Simon Grey, starring Felicity Kendal and Nicholas Le Prevost
The Mountaintop (17 July - 5 September 2009) By Katori Hall, starring David Harewood and Lorraine Burroughs
Othello (18 September 2009 - ) by William Shakespeare, starring Lenny Henry
Public Property (10 November - 5 December 2009) by Sam Peter Jackson, starring Nigel Harman, Robert Daws and Steven Webb