Theatres Trust welcomes approval of Ambassadors Theatre proposals

Last week Camden Council granted planning permission for proposals by Delfont Mackintosh to transform the Grade II listed Ambassadors Theatre into a highly adaptable 425+-seat performance space, which will be renamed the Sondheim Theatre. The Theatres Trust welcomes the news, as the proposals create a theatre with a layout capable of presenting some of the great performances produced by theatres across the UK.

The proposal will support the UK’s subsidised theatre sector to present their work in the West End with a fit-for-purpose transfer house, and will enhance the range of work available in the West End. The plans also address the particularly extreme lack of front of house space that the Ambassadors suffers from, as well as WC provision and disabled access, making the continued operation of the theatre more viable as a result.

The Ambassadors is a historic Grade II listed theatre by WGR Sprague, but it suffers from operational constraints due to its compact site, restricted front and back of house space, and there are limitations on what productions can be staged. The Delfont Mackintosh proposals allow the Ambassadors to keep pace with expectations of today’s performers, producers, and theatre audiences, and help the West End to continue to innovate and maintain its position as a world leader in theatre.

When determining any application for historic theatre improvements there is a balance to be struck between theatre operation and historical significance. Whilst we would normally regret the substantial remodelling of an interior of a Grade II listed Sprague theatre, consideration has been given to retaining key elements of the building’s façade. Sprague was a prolific designer of theatres in London and we will look to ensure the historic fabric is appropriately recorded. In this specific instance the Theatres Trust considers that the overall benefits of the proposals outweigh the loss.

Read the Theatres Trust full planning response to the Ambassadors Theatre proposals 2016/4869/P and 2016/5032/L

Find out more about the Ambassadors Theatre.

Find out more about the Theatres Trust and our planning remit.

Photo | Ambassadors Theatre, January 2018 by Ian Grundy