Andrew Lloyd Webber unveils £60m Theatre Royal renovations

23 July 2021, 13:35

The renovation began in 2019.
The renovation began in 2019. Picture: Theatre Royal Drury Lane

By Emma Soteriou

Andrew Lloyd Webber has unveiled £60 million worth of renovation work on the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

The building was entirely restored with the addition of multiple bar and restaurant spaces.

The auditorium has also been refashioned to bring performers and audiences closer together. 

Lord Lloyd-Webber began the renovation process with his wife, Madeleine, in 2019, having acquired the theatre in 2000.

Theatre Royal Drury Lane is the oldest theatre site in continuous use in the world, having been around since the 17th century.

Frozen the musical is set to open its doors in the renovated building from 27 August.

Read more: Paul Scully says No10 ‘not ruling out’ vaccine passports for theatres, cinemas, churches

Read more: Lord Lloyd Webber tells LBC theatres have been made a 'sacrificial lamb'

Builders were at work making new additions across the theatre.
Builders were at work making new additions across the theatre. Picture: Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Andrew Lloyd Webber credited the "extraordinary craftsmen" for restoring the theatre during the pandemic.

"The task of restoring the Theatre Royal was threefold," he said.

"How to reinstate Wyatt’s glorious 'front of house' rooms, how to fix the 1922 auditorium and, third, how to make this extraordinary building a versatile, vibrant heart of the artistic soul of Covent Garden.

Read more: Lord Lloyd Webber: Chinese companies could buy West End theatres to 'control content'

The auditorium was completely refashioned.
The auditorium was completely refashioned. Picture: Theatre Royal Drury Lane

"I believe that the Lane is now one of London’s most warm and beautiful auditoriums, and the most versatile historic theatrical space anywhere in the world.

"The restoration of the Theatre Royal, uniting my two great passions of theatre and architecture, has been a colossal task rendered very difficult by the Covid pandemic.

"It simply would have ground to a halt without the dedication of our extraordinary craftsmen and the team overseeing the project in, at times, almost impossible circumstances.

"Madeleine and I hope that the Theatre Royal will become a vital part of the Covent Garden community.

"We want to welcome you all through it’s doors all day and every day for everything from cocktails to coffees and lots, lots more."

Read more: LBC Views: Theatre is on its knees, why has so little cash gone to them

Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber fears his industry won't look the same

It comes as Lord Lloyd Webber's latest production of Cinderella was forced to close due to one cast member testing positive for the virus.

In a statement shared on Twitter, Lord Lloyd Webber said the "heart-breaking decision" would "affect the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of people and disappoint the thousands who have booked to see the show".

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