London’s landmark West End venue the Theatre Royal Haymarket, a space which has housed groundbreaking productions starring Bradley Cooper, Judi Dench and Ian McKellen, is up for sale.
Established in the 18th century, the Theatre Royal Haymarket is the third oldest London playhouse still in use and is one of only three Grade I listed theatres in London. It is also one of the very few West End theatres remaining in independent ownership, and has been run by three generations of a single family since the 1970s. The news of the sale also marks the first time a significant West End theatre has been on the market since 2014.
Over the years, the theatre has staged numerous critically acclaimed productions including One Man, Two Guvnors, The Elephant Man, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Waiting for Godot. Award-winning actors including Maggie Smith, Patrick Stewart, Simon Callow, Rex Harrison, Lauren Bacall and Damian Lewis have all appeared on its stage.
The Theatre Royal Haymarket dates back to 1720 when the original building was located slightly further north on Suffolk Street. The building has been at its current location since 1821, when celebrated British architect John Nash undertook an extravagant renovation to remodel the exterior of the building. Since its interior Louis XVI style redesign by architect Sir Stanley Peach in 1904, the theatre has been carefully maintained to be in keeping with the period.
Talking about the news Arnold Crook, chairman of shareholders Louis I Michaels Limited, said: “Our ‘Grand Old Dame’ has been a platform for entertainment, a place for laughter, tears and romance within the City of London for nearly 300 years. In my role as chairman of Louis I. Michaels Ltd and as custodian of the Theatre Royal Haymarket since 1981, it has been my life’s pride. The Theatre Royal Haymarket is historically and architecturally one of the most beautiful theatres in the world, and although it is very sad for me to say goodbye, it is now time to hand over the reins to the next generation of dream-makers.”
The lease for the building is currently held by LIM’s subsidiary, Theatre Royal Haymarket Limited with the freehold of the theatre owned by the Crown Estate. Its lease was last renewed in July 1987 for a period of 99 years. The lease therefore currently has some 68 years remaining. The sale of the Group will be managed by Kingston Smith Corporate Finance Limited, part of Kingston Smith LLP.