About Trafalgar Theatre (formerly known as Trafalgar Studios)
Trafalgar Theatre is a West End theatre located in Whitehall, near Trafalgar Square, in the City of Westminster, London. The Trafalgar Theatre auditorium has a seating capacity of 630. Trafalgar Theatre has a reputation as one of London’s most exciting new venues. Previously known as Trafalgar Studios between the years 2004 and 2020, the West End theatre recently changed its name to Trafalgar Theatre after announcing it had been converted back into its former single-space venue as a result of a multi-million-pound restoration project.
The first major show to run at the newly renamed Trafalgar Theatre since the coronavirus pandemic has yet to be announced, but is expected to be a huge deal. Despite the venue being renowned for its former, unique development that boasted two intimate, flexible, and dynamic performance spaces (Studio 1 and Studio 2), the newly reconfigured, single-space auditorium will provide even more flexibility than ever before, allowing the theatre to stage socially distanced shows as needed and larger productions when possible in order to adapt to an ever-changing theatrical environment. The new conversion also takes the theatre back to its roots and original heritage design.
Before the Trafalgar Theatre we know today became known as Trafalgar Studios in 2004, it bore the name Whitehall Theatre from the years 1930 to 2004. During the Trafalgar Studios era from 2004 to 2020, Studio 1 (the larger of the two spaces) could hold a maximum of 380 seats and opened on 3 June 2004 with the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Othello. Studio 2, with a capacity of 100 seats, opened in October 2005 with the play Cyprus. Studio 2 generally featured innovative and more experimental work from both national and international companies before Studios 1 and 2 were once again merged into a single auditorium in 2020.
Trafalgar Theatre's history in a nutshell
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 29 September 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 5 March 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.
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".
Between the years 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 then 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 into a double-auditorium venue and reopen with a new name: Trafalgar Studios (now Trafalgar Theatre as of 2020).
Past productions at Trafalgar Theatre include Sweeney Todd, Alan Bennett's The Old Country, an adaptation of Jane Eyre, and Bent. Trafalgar Theatre also helped make history in 2018 when it staged Natasha Gordon's acclaimed play Nine Night, becoming the first-ever play by a Black-British playwright to be staged in London's West End. The play went on to pick up the 2019 Black British Theatre Award for Best Supporting Female Actor in Play (Michelle Greenidge) at the Inaugural BBTAs.
Trafalgar Theatre amenities and facilities
After being restored to its original heritage design with a single-space auditorium and changing its name, Trafalgar Theatre now boasts brand-new seats, a new Stalls bar, a new spacious foyer, and improvements to the toilets in order to offer theatregoers a more comfortable and pleasant experience. The new launch as Trafalgar Theatre has been able to bring the venue's capacity up to 630 seats to match those of such major medium-sized West End venues as the Vaudeville Theatre (690 seats) and the Duke of York's Theatre (640 seats). The new, single auditorium now has seats on 2 levels: the Stalls and the Dress Circle.
Jersey Boys is the current production at Trafalgar Theatre. The latest booking period for Jersey Boys at Trafalgar Theatre started 28/07/2021 19:30:00 and runs until 02/01/2022 16:00:00. Tickets for Jersey Boys start at £24 and are available to book now.
We recommend using public transport to access the theatre. The nearest underground station to Trafalgar Studios is Charing Cross Station (Barkerloo/ Northern Lines). If arriving by train the closest rail station is Charing Cross. The theatre is also well serviced by bus lines 3, 6, 11, 12, 12, 23, 24, 83, 87, 91, 139, 159, and 453. If driving to the theatre, the nearest car park is the Q-Park Trafalgar.
Trafalgar Theatre opened on 29 September 1930 as Whitehall Theatre. The venue changed its name to Trafalgar Studios in 2004 after it had been converted into a double-auditorium theatre before it was changed in 2020 to Trafalgar Theatre and became a single-space venue again.
Trafalgar Theatre is located at 14 Whitehall, Westminster, SW1A 2DY. The nearest tube station is Charing Cross whilst the nearest British Rail station is Charing Cross.
Trafalgar Theatre's seating capacity is 630 after Trafalgar Studios 1 and 2 were merged in 2020 to create a single auditorium, which now has 2 levels: the Stalls and Dress Circle.
The Whitehall Theatre changed its name to Trafalgar Studios in 2004 after the venue was reconfigured to have two separate auditoriums: Trafalgar Studio 1 and Trafalgar Studio 2. The name of the West End venue was once again changed in 2020 to Trafalgar Theatre after announcing it would be converted back to a single auditorium, with its grand re-opening scheduled for Spring 2021.
The most recently staged shows at Trafalgar Studios (2004-2020) in the past decade include Three Days in May (2011-12), Macbeth starring James McAvoy (2013), The Hothouse starring John Simm and Simon Russell Beale (2013), The Pride (2013), Another Country (2014), Richard III starring Martin Freeman (2014), East is East starring Jane Horrocks and Ayub Khan-Din (2014-15), The Ruling Class starring James McAvoy (2015), The Naked Magicians (2016), Apologia (2017), The Grinning Man (2017-18), Killer Joe starring Orlando Bloom (2018), Misty starring Arinze Kene (2018), Nine Night written by Natasha Gordon (2018-19), Admissions starring Alex Kingston (2019), Education, Education, Education (2019), Equus (2019), A Day in the Death of Joe Egg starring Toby Stephens and Claire Skinner (2019), A Taste of Honey starring Jodie Prenger (2019-20), and On Blueberry Hill (2020).
Current + Upcoming Events
At The Trafalgar Theatre
Celebrity Night at Cafe Red playing at Trafalgar Studios 2
Don't miss your last chance to see what has come to the fairground!
A reading from selected works of playwright Peter Nichols
‘It’s stunning acting in a compelling, finally heartbreaking evening’ The Times
Don't miss Stockard Channing starring in Apologia at Trafalgar Studios!
The groundbreaking play by Shelagh Delaney returns to London's West End after 60 years!
On Blueberry Hill from Laureate of Irish Fiction Sebastian Barry
Equus transfers to London's West End - don't miss out on tickets to this dark psychological tale.
The Wardrobe Ensemble's Education, Education, Education receives its long-awaited West End premiere at Trafalgar Studios.
Following its sold-out run at the Bush Theatre, Arinzé Kene's acclaimed Misty transfers to London’s Trafalgar Studios
Orlando Bloom stars in the multi-award winning comedy thriller, Killer Joe.
This is SOME magic... We guarantee you have never witnessed anything like this before.
Toby Stephens stars in the long-awaited revival of Joe Egg at Trafalgar Studios!
Barbershopera presents Cabaret Sauvignon at Trafalgar Studios 2
Natasha Gordon’s debut play transfers to the West End following a sell-out run in the Dorfman earlier this year.
Starring Cynthia Eviro and Cassidy Janson
★★★★ 'Jane Horrocks back to the stage in a terrific, gutsy-yet-sensitive portrayal’ The Independent
'Exceptionally timely, superb performances, a gripping production’ Daily Telegraph
The groundbreaking play by Shelagh Delaney returns to London's West End after 60 years!
Sam Shepard's Pulitzer winning play lands at Trafalgar Studios starring internationally acclaimed Ed Harris
Zelda showing at Trafalgar Studios 2
Jamie Lloyd Company presents Harold Pinter's enigmatic masterpiece, The Homecoming, in the 50th anniversary year
This is your last chance to see Alex Kingston in the smash-hit Admissions
Prepare to fall in love with Strangers in Between, a coming of age story centred on family and finding yourself.
46 Beacon is the story of that night your life was forever changed.
Starring Simon Russell Beale and John Simm
Premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1997, this is a major revival to mark its 20th anniversary.
Richard lll at the Trafalgar Studios
“Intellectually stimulating, touchingly sympathetic and gloriously, gloriously funny” - Sunday Times
Enjoyable, undemanding hillbilly comedy with a heart of gold!
‘Compelling, confident and provocative’ The Stage
The world premiere of An Incident at the Border by acclaimed young playwright Kieran Lynn
New Marber’s play will be formed by his personal experience with non-league football
‘A blisteringly good debut’ Time Out