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Trafalgar Entertainment to run new 1,575-seat theatre at Olympia London

Trafalgar Entertainment has signed a 70-year lease agreement with Olympia London to run the largest new permanent theatre in the capital, which is scheduled to open in 2025.

The international live entertainment business, which operates Trafalgar Theatre and Theatre Royal Sydney, among others, will run the 1,575-seat theatre, which will form part of a wider £1.3bn (€1.4bn/$1.7bn) regeneration of the Olympia London exhibition centre.

Investors and developers Yoo Capital and Deutsche Finance International said this week that construction work on the development has begun, with demolition work underway.

Trafalgar Entertainment will join AEG Presents, which has been appointed to manage the new 4,400-capacity music venue. It will be located above the existing west exhibition hall at Olympia London. Construction work is underway on the 14-acre site and the project is slated for completion in 2024.

It is hoped the wide-ranging project will create a new cultural hub for west London. Yoo Capital and DFI are also in advanced talks with other potential occupiers, with interest being shown in the development’s four-screen arthouse cinema, restaurants, shops, cafes, hotels and 550,000 square feet of office and co-working space.

Olympia London MD, Nigel Nathan, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome Trafalgar Entertainment to run this new theatre and enrich the programme of cultural entertainment offered here in the heart of West London. It is our goal to enhance our clients’, visitors’ and exhibitors’ journey with us and offer experiences to them and our local community.”

Olympia Central Hall is set to be demolished, while the structures of Olympia National and Olympia Grand, both Grade II listed, are being incorporated into the overall redevelopment and will continue to host events while works are taking place.

Olympia London’s redevelopment is due to open in 2024 with the new theatre set to premier in 2025.

Trafalgar Entertainment, which is also the parent company of ticketing firm London Theatre Direct, was co-founded by leading theatre impresarios Sir Howard Panter and Dame Rosemary Squire in 2017.

Chairman of Yoo Capital, John Hitchcox, added: “Panter and 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.”

Meanwhile, LW Theatres has put The Other Palace in London’s Off West End up for sale.

The venue, which has a large 312-seat auditorium and a 120-seat studio theatre, was purchased by theatre impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber in 2015. It has housed shows including Eugenius!, Amélie, and Heather, among others.

An LW Theatres spokesperson said: “The sale of The Other Palace is a strategic move for LW Theatres as we look ahead to exciting, future plans in London’s Covent Garden. We look forward to sharing more details later in the year.”

Elsewhere, Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena could be demolished as part of major plans to create a ‘canal quarter’ in the city centre.

Live Nation, which owns the 5,000-capacity music venue, is currently in talks with Cardiff council about the arena as it plans to open a 15,000-capacity venue in Cardiff Bay.

If the project goes ahead, the council said Live Nation would “have to consider the future use of the Motorpoint”.

The canal quarter plans, which currently includes an amphitheatre for outdoor performances, could see the entire area change in the next few years, with a masterplan likely to be approved by the cabinet on Thursday.

Councillor Russell Goodway, cabinet member for investment and development, said: “We can’t get away from the fact that the pandemic has hit our city centres hard. Many jobs have been lost across the retail and hospitality sector already.

“This is why we have to seize every opportunity we have to safeguard people’s livelihoods. We have an opportunity to work with private-sector partners to create a new district, which will not only improve this part of the city, but also deliver vital jobs for people who live here.

“The canal quarter could become a successful, high-density, mixed use development, attracting homes, hotels, hospitality, high-quality offices, leisure and retail units.”

Image: Yoo Capital