The first new-build West End theatre for 50 years, @sohoplace, will open this autumn, marking the culmination of a 12 year project headed by producer and theatre owner Nica Burns.
Named after the first new street name in Soho for 72 years, the 602-seater venue sits adjacent to the site of the old Astoria theatre which was demolished to build Crossrail, directly above the new Elizabeth Line and existing Northern and Central Lines at Tottenham Court Road Station in London.
The theatre features state-of-the-art acoustics, flexible seating arrangements, a creatives’ floor with rehearsal room, actor’s Green Room, bar and terrace, plus a ground floor public restaurant and bar.
Operated by Nimax Theatres, the venue’s first production will be announced soon, with owner Nica Burns saying that she wanted to create a “different dimension” to the West End landscape.
Nica said: “I asked our greatest theatre creatives two questions: If we could build a new theatre in the heart of the West End, what would you like it to be? What additional facilities would be on your wish list? They dreamt of a flexible auditorium, perfect acoustics, plus audience and stage intimacy.
“An ability to create on-site with the dream of a rehearsal room, a Green Room and a bar all in the same building. So that’s what we built - with a few extras including an outside terrace.”
Key qualities of the auditorium, according to Nica Burns:
- State-of-the-art acoustics.
- Perfect sight lines from every seat with no obscured views.
- Intimate actor/audience relationship with no seat more than six rows from the stage.
- The space is flexible and can be transformed into a number of different configurations.
@sohoplace is at the heart of property company Derwent London’s £300 million regeneration of a neglected corner of Soho. Totalling 285,000 square feet it is a mixed development with the theatre at its heart, as well as offices, retail and a new piazza.
The theatre interior was inspired by Burns’ visit to Epidaurus in Greece when she was young. She said: “I was standing on the stage of this great ancient theatre at 8 o’clock - show time - as the last rays of a golden sun were coming through the trees and the stars were starting to twinkle in an indigo sky. It was magic. Epidaurus is one of the greatest theatres in the world and the plays of ancient Greece are still part of our theatre heritage today.
“The interior of @sohoplace reflects these colours and when you walk through the theatre you walk under crystal star lights, laid out in constellations. When you pass the building, look up to the terrace and you will see the constellations shine.”
See exactly how the theatre looks in the video below:
For more information, go to www.sohoplace.org