The opening production of @sohoplace will be The New Vic’s much acclaimed production Marvellous, directed by Theresa Heskins. The New Vic theatre is the oldest purpose built, in-the-round theatre in the UK and @sohoplace is the first new West End theatre in 50 years, with a flexible, 602-seat auditorium, purpose built and opening in-the-round.
Growing up in the 1950’s in less enlightened times, Neil Baldwin was not expected to be a success. But Neil decided he was destined to do wonderful things and that his life was going to be marvellous. And it is.
He hitchhiked across the country, became a famous clown, got an honorary degree from Keele University, was appointed Stoke City’s legendary kit man, appeared on the Queen’s New Year Honours list and accepted a BAFTA award for the film made about his life. A friend to anyone he meets, he became a local hero and an inspiration to the world. A reminder to us all not to let anything stand in the way of your dreams, just go out and make them happen.
The Times, The Guardian, Sunday Times, WhatsOnStage
Neil Baldwin’s life story gets more amazing
An irresistible story about a local hero
The Sunday Times
This incredible story about how you can realise your dreams – even when society tries to limit you with a label.
Panoramic views inside the auditorium of the new West End theatre @ sohoplace. Copywright: @sohoplace
To receive our latest updates and news by email please subscribe to our newsletter.sign up
Press Enquires email@example.com
FIRST NEW BUILD WEST END THEATRE IN 50 YEARS OPENS THIS AUTUMN
Leading West End producer and theatre owner, Nica Burns, today announces the opening of @sohoplace, the first new-build West End theatre in 50 years. The culmination of a 12-year project, the theatre is owned by Nica Burns and operated by Nimax Theatres and will open this autumn with the first production to be announced soon.
The theatre is adjacent to the site of the old Astoria theatre which was demolished to build Crossrail. The auditorium sits directly above Crossrail’s new Elizabeth line and the existing Northern and Central lines at Tottenham Court Road station, a major transport hub. In addition, Crossrail’s huge ventilation fans extracting the hot air from the platform below and working full-time 365 days a year are also adjacent to the auditorium. A challenging location to build a new modern theatre with state-of-the-art facilities!
The theatre @sohoplace is at the heart of property giant Derwent London’s visionary £300 million regeneration of a neglected corner of Soho. Totalling 285,000 square feet it is a mixed development with the theatre at its heart, offices and retail and a fantastic new piazza, an ideal meeting place for Londoners to start their day or night out in the West End.
Nica Burns, Theatre owner said:
“I wanted to create a theatre which could add a different dimension to our vibrant West End landscape. I asked our greatest theatre creatives two questions: If we could build a new theatre in the heart of the West End, what would you like it to be? What additional facilities would be on your wish list? They dreamt of a flexible auditorium, perfect acoustics and audience / stage intimacy. An ability to create on-site with the dream of a rehearsal room, a Green Room and a bar all in the same building. So that’s what we built – with a few extras including an outside terrace.”
“The incredible team of engineers pulled off the greatest of structural feats, building over a major underground transport hub – a challenging place to build a theatre – achieving perfect acoustics and no vibrations”.
The auditorium has the following key qualities:
1. Wonderful acoustics
2. Perfect sightlines from every seat with no obscured views
3. Intimate actor/audience relationship: no seat further than 6 rows from the stage
4. Curved auditorium unifying both audience and actors (theatre term ‘the hug’)
5. The flexible auditorium can be transformed into a number of different configurations
The theatre interior was inspired by Nica’s visit to Epidaurus when young.
“I was standing on the stage of this great ancient theatre at 8 o’clock – show time – as the last rays of a golden sun were coming through the trees and the stars were starting to twinkle in an indigo sky. It was magic. Epidaurus is one of the greatest theatres in the world and the plays of ancient Greece are still part of our theatre heritage today. The interior of @sohoplace reflects these colours and when you walk through the theatre you walk under crystal star lights, laid out in constellations. When you pass the building, look up to the terrace and you will see the constellations shine.”
“I am incredibly privileged to be working with Derwent London who hand-picked the most outstanding team – all leaders and innovators in their sectors – to deliver this challenging build:
• Architect Simon Allford, founder of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, one of London’s most significant international architectural practices. Simon is currently President of RIBA.
• Arup, a brilliant worldwide engineering giant who make the impossible, possible.
• Laing O’Rourke, renowned global construction company, specialising in delivering the most difficult projects.
Auditorium specialist consultants and contractors
Please note, below is the list of the key specialist consultants and contractors for the auditorium. Their huge contribution to this amazing auditorium will be shared in detail in the following weeks.
Haworth Tompkins, award-winning architectural studio, with a special expertise in theatre design
Charcoalblue Theatre Advisor
Ian Albery Theatre Consultant to Nica Burns
Gillieron Scott acoustic consultant
James Johnson & Co balcony joinery
Kirwin & Simpson seating specialists
Stage Electrics audio visual packages
Steeldeck bespoke stage and seating
TAIT Engineering innovators for grid and auditorium reconfiguration
Finally, a very big thank you to all at Westminster City Council. We have had incredible support from every team member and we couldn’t have done it without you”.
Paul Williams, Chief Executive Derwent London said:
“Working alongside world-class architects and engineers, and in collaboration with Crossrail and our partner Nica Burns, we are delighted to have developed this new state-of-the-art theatre together with substantial public realm as part of a successful commercial regeneration project above the Elizabeth line.”
Ground floor public restaurant and bar
Launches mid-September ahead of the first theatre production. It will be open throughout the day with pre and post-show sittings, showcasing a contemporary international menu focusing on British produce, a mix of classic and modern cocktails, craft beers, and an expertly curated wine list.
The building is accessible for wheelchairs for both audiences and performers. It has access toilets on all levels and backstage. All wheelchair spaces in the auditorium have unrestricted views.
Access Consultant: David Bonnett Associates
Derwent London has a commitment to not just quality and design but sustainability. Everything in the theatre is built with sustainability in mind using BREEAM which allows us to operate efficiently and all our lovely lighting is LED. BREEAM is the leading and most widely used environmental assessment method for buildings and communities.
Nica Burns OBE is a multi-award winning theatre producer. She is Chief Executive of Nimax Theatres Limited and co-owns six London theatres.
Derwent London plc owns 77 buildings in a commercial real estate portfolio predominantly in central London valued at £5.7 billion as at 31 December 2021, making it the largest London-focused real estate investment trust (REIT).
Our experienced team has a long track record of creating value throughout the property cycle by regenerating our buildings via development or refurbishment, effective asset management and capital recycling.
We typically acquire central London properties off-market with low capital values and modest rents in improving locations, most of which are either in the West End or the Tech Belt. We capitalise on the unique qualities of each of our properties – taking a fresh approach to the regeneration of every building with a focus on anticipating tenant requirements and an emphasis on design.
Reflecting and supporting our long-term success, the business has a strong balance sheet with modest leverage, a robust income stream and flexible financing.
As part of our commitment to lead the industry in mitigating climate change, Derwent London has committed to becoming a net zero carbon business by 2030, publishing its pathway to achieving this goal in July 2020. In 2019 the Group became the first UK REIT to sign a Revolving Credit Facility with a ‘green’ tranche. At the same time, we also launched our Green Finance Framework and signed the Better Buildings Partnership’s climate change commitment. The Group is a member of the ‘RE100’ which recognises Derwent London as an influential company, committed to 100% renewable power by purchasing renewable energy, a key step in becoming a net zero carbon business. Derwent London is one of only a few property companies worldwide to have science-based carbon targets validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).
Landmark buildings in our 5.6 million sq ft portfolio include 80 Charlotte Street W1, Brunel Building W2, White Collar Factory EC1, Angel Building EC1, 1-2 Stephen Street W1, Horseferry House SW1 and Tea Building E1.
In January 2022 we were proud to announce that we had achieved the National Equality Standard – the UK’s highest benchmark for equality, diversity and inclusion. In April 2022, Derwent London won the BCO Best Commercial Workplace award for 80 Charlotte Street. In October 2021, the Group won EG’s UK Company of the Year award and in January 2022 came top of the Property Sector and 38th position overall in Management Today’s Britain’s Most Admired Companies awards 2021. In 2020 the Group won several awards for Brunel Building with the most prominent being the BCO Best Commercial Workplace award. In 2019 the Group won EG Offices Company of the Year, the CoStar West End Deal of the Year for Brunel Building and Westminster Business Council’s Best Achievement in Sustainability award. In 2013 the Company launched a voluntary Community Fund and has to date supported well over 100 community projects in the West End and the Tech Belt.
Photo credit: Tim Soar and AHMM
Photo credit: AHMM
Photo credit: Tim Soar