Cameron Mackintosh to spend millions refurbishing West End theatres

Cameron Mackintosh to spend millions refurbishing West End theatres

Sir Cameron Mackintosh has announced plans to spend millions of ukp to refurbish many West End theatre that he owns over the next few years beginning with the Prince of Wales where work, costing 7 million ukp, will start in the summer and the theatre will reopen in spring 2004.

Full press release below......

Sir Cameron Mackintosh announces plans for his contribution to the Campaign to turn around the decaying West End.

Seven London theatres are owned by Sir Cameron Mackintosh including The Queen's, The Gielgud, The Prince of Wales, The Albery, Wyndham's, The Strand and The Prince Edward. Since the 1990s only two of these seven theatres have been operated by Delfont Mackintosh Theatres. Sir Cameron's first successful theatrical restoration was at The Prince Edward which was transformed in 1992 from a cold and austere auditorium originally built as a cinema into one of London's most desirable and largest musical theatres, currently housing the smash-hit musical 'Mamma Mia', now in its fourth year. Whilst all London's main Subsidised Producing Houses have undergone extensive renovation and rebuilding in recent times, The Prince Edward was the first privately owned commercial Theatre to do so.

Sir Cameron says "For many years I have publicly declared my concern for the state of the West End and I welcome the current focus on the poor state of Central London and its Theatres in particular. We have a unique treasury of Edwardian and Victorian theatres, designed by such great architects as Matcham, Phipps and Sprague, and we are committed to improving our audience's experience when they visit them. We hope our efforts will make a significant contribution to bringing back the glory of the West End help to make London, once again, the most vibrant and attractive city in the world"

Sir Cameron and his design team including the well-known Arts Team at architects RHWL have been working side-by side with the planning authorities including Westminster City Council, English Heritage and the Twentieth Century Society towards undertaking a major renovation of the whole auditorium and front-of-house areas of The Prince of Wales theatre. In addition they will create a contemporary interpretation of the Art Deco frontage that was never fully realised at the time it was originally built . The work, which is costing around 7 million ukp, will start this summer and the theatre will reopen in the Spring of 2004.

In March 2003 Delfont Mackintosh theatres will take back control of its third theatre, The Strand. Plans are near completion for the first stage of an extensive renovation to include the front-of-house areas. In each of these cases the first priority is to expand and upgrade all public areas and facilities.

Control of the other four theatres, two of which (The Albery and Wyndham's) are currently leased by the Ambassadors Group and a further two (The Queen's and The Gielgud) by Really Useful Theatres, will return to Cameron Mackintosh in 2005 and 2006 respectively. Plans are well advanced to upgrade and re-invent these historic buildings appropriately and to equip them to match the expectations of audiences in the Twenty-First century.

Sir Cameron went on to say:

"I passionately believe that there should be one single central London authority with genuine power to administer the entire infrastructure, run by a proactive Mayor. As one of the very few producers who has worked simultaneously on both sides of the Atlantic for nearly twenty five years I have seen at first hand the extraordinary transformation of the New York economy through the cleaning up of their theatre district, Times Square and Broadway, under the direction of Mayor Giuliani."


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