Yoo Capital and Deutsche Finance International (DFI) – developers of the £1.3 billion regeneration of Olympia – have announced a major agreement with Trafalgar Entertainment to run the site’s new 1,575-seat theatre. The theatre will be the largest new permanent theatre build of its kind to open in London since the National Theatre in 1976.
The Olympia venue is believed to break new ground in theatre design with a state-of-the-art 1,575 seat auditorium at its heart, designed by award-winning theatre architects Haworth Tompkins.
The expectations of modern audiences have also been anticipated; with a stacked auditorium design meaning every seat will feel close to the stage, and audiences can additionally enjoy the highest standards of ventilation throughout the theatre. Spacious, glazed front-of-house areas offer far-reaching views across London.
Currently under construction, the Olympia Theatre is scheduled to open in mid-late 2025. Trafalgar Entertainment’s lease runs for 35 years, with an option to extend for a further 35. They join luxury lifestyle and entertainment brands AEG Presents, Hyatt and citizenM as anchor tenants of the new, 14-acre Olympia redevelopment.
Trafalgar Entertainment beat off strong competition to lease the theatre. Leading theatre entrepreneurs and joint CEOs of Trafalgar Entertainment, Sir Howard Panter and Dame Rosemary Squire founded Ambassador Theatre Group from scratch and built it into the world’s largest live theatre company while running the company for 25 successful years.
In addition to the new Olympia theatre, Trafalgar Entertainment’s enlarged West End theatre – the Trafalgar Theatre – will open in July with Jersey Boys following a major multi-million pound restoration. Trafalgar Entertainment also recently completed the acquisition of HQ Theatres which operates 12 regional venues across the UK, and the major acquisition and restoration of Australia’s iconic Theatre Royal Sydney which opens with Broadway’s favourite multi award-winning musical, Alanis Morrisette’s Jagged Little Pill in September. The company is continuing its global expansion into Asia Pacific, with expectations to move into the US market in the coming year.
Chairman of Yoo Capital, John Hitchcox, said: “Sir Howard Panter and Dame Rosemary Squire have a unique track record in exceptional live entertainment and we are delighted to welcome Trafalgar Entertainment as the latest tenants of Olympia. Our vision is to create a new cultural hub in West London and we are looking forward to opening the largest new permanent theatre in the city for 45 years. This will be a big boost for the city’s entertainment industry and the local economy, providing the very best productions for theatre lovers and heralding a new era for theatre and entertainment in London.”
Co-founder of Trafalgar Entertainment, Howard Panter, said:
“Looking forward to a new golden age of theatre, Olympia presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity – it is quite simply one of the most exciting new theatres London has seen for many years and we’re delighted to be playing our part as operator. Trafalgar Entertainment is determined to help the return of live entertainment across the UK: we know that audiences want passionately to return to the unique magic that is live theatre.
“Next month, our remodelled Trafalgar Theatre will open in the West End, Anything Goes plays a summer season at the Barbican, and we’re launching UK tours of The King and I and The Rocky Horror Show. With HQ Theatres opening new productions across the UK in coming months, and the Theatre Royal Sydney in Australia opening its doors for the first time in five years, we’re seeing the mighty strength of the theatre sector as investors and audiences come together to give the people what they want – brilliant world class theatre.”
The £1.3 billion Olympia redevelopment project will create a new cultural hub in west London. Yoo Capital and DFI are also in advanced talks with other potential occupiers with strong interest being shown for the development’s four-screen arthouse cinema, restaurants, shops, cafés and 550,000 sq ft of office and co-working space. The Heatherwick Studio and SPPARC-designed project will also see the enhancement of the existing exhibition halls and 2.5 acres of new public space created. CBRE and Cushman & Wakefield are joint advisors on the leasing. The Olympia redevelopment is due to open in 2024.