Updated: Curious Incident quits Apollo Theatre

Apollo Theatre: home of Curious Incident (Credit: Bikeworldtravel)

Apollo Theatre: home of Curious Incident (Credit: Bikeworldtravel)

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is to depart from the Apollo Theatre following the collapse of the venue’s auditorium celling. The production and the theatre had been due to reopen on 13 January.

Up to 80 people were injured, seven seriously, when plaster from the theatre’s roof and part of the balcony fell during an evening performance of the show on 19 December. More than 700 people were attending that evening’s performance.

National Theatre’s executive director Nick Starr said in a statement: ‘It will be a real wrench to leave that beautiful theatre, but sadly the closure of the gallery to enable its restoration means that the show no longer works economically there.  We look forward to renewing our relationship with Nimax Theatres on another show in the future.’

Nica Burns, CEO of Nimax Theatres, said: ‘This was and is a deeply upsetting incident for everyone. We are sorry to lose such a wonderful production and wish it well.’

The production will transfer to the Gielgud Theatre, running from 24 June 2014 with the official opening night taking place on 8 July. Starr said: ‘We are grateful to Delfont Mackintosh Theatres for providing us with another home on Shaftesbury Avenue for the show’.

The National Theatre has also announced plans for free performances of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time for schools and young people next month during the play’s lay-off period in February. These will be performed by the cast from the Apollo in a rehearsal-room format with minimal settings and lighting. Further details are to be announced by the National Theatre.

Free West End performances in Trafalgar Square from West End LIVE

West End LIVE, a free annual event, returns in June with performances of leading theatre productions in the West End performed live in Trafalgar Square. In 2012, the West End LIVE weekend saw over 500,000 visitors attend. The two-day festival is run by the Society of London Theatre (SOLT), Westminster City Council and Mastercard.

Performances at this year’s event will include a mix of West End favourites and newcomers, including Billy Elliot the Musical, The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, Matilda The Musical, The Sound Of Music, Top Hat, The Bodyguard, A Chorus Line, Once: A New Musical and many more.

West End LIVE, now in its ninth year, was proposed by deputy leader of Westminster City Council Robert Davis to support and rejuvenate the West End, and to showcase the entertainment available in the area. Of the visitors to last year’s event, 85% said that it would be likely that they would attend a West End show having seen the performances as part of West End LIVE.

Councillor Robert Davis said of this year’s event: ‘This will be the largest West End LIVE we have ever produced with more shows taking part than ever before. From humble beginnings in Leicester Square nine years ago, our event now attracts hundreds of thousands of people. We cannot wait to get the weekend started and showcase exactly what the West End of London has to offer – the best art, musicals and theatre in the world.’

West End LIVE takes place on 22-23 June 2013, for more information visit www.westendlive.co.uk.

Kids Week and West End Live make theatre accessible this summer

While this summer looks to be dominated by sport, those with an appetite for theatre won’t be disappointed. It was predicted by theatre bigwigs such as Andrew Lloyd Webber 2012 would see theatre’s struggle against the tide of Olympic tourists. However, there are a couple of initiatives which are making London’s biggest theatre hits more available to everyone.

One scheme which will keep children happy throughout the summer holidays is Kids Week. The project, in its 15th year, will run throughout the whole of August – providing parents and children with a respite from the Olympic Games.

The scheme allows young people under the age of 16 to see a theatre performance in London for free, when attending with a paying adult. Amongst this year’s selection of performances are Billy Elliot the MusicalBlood Brothers, Chicago, War Horse, The Lion King, The Wizard of Oz and many more. Tickets went on sale on 12th June and saw popular show Matilda The Musical sell out within hours.

Young people who have bought a ticket through Kids Week also have the chance to take part in a workshop from their chosen play. Those attending Singin’ in the Rain can opt to have a go at a vocal and dance workshop for free. Visitors to The Woman in Black can participate in an interactive ghostly workshop and many other productions are offering Q&A sessions with Kids Week audiences. For more information about Kids Week, visit www.kidsweek.co.uk. Tickets and workshops are subject to availability, so book soon to avoid disappointment.

However, if your budget is too tight to shell out for full price adult tickets, West End Live are offering a free weekend of London theatre performances for visitors to enjoy. The event, organised by Westminster City Council and the Society of London Theatre (SOLT), will see live showcase performances of London’s biggest theatre shows.

There will be performances from Shrek, Wicked, Ghost The Musical, Stomp and Phantom of the Opera. If you’ve missed out on tickets for Kids Week for shows like Matilda the Musical and Billy Elliot they will also be in attendance. The weekend will also see musical performances take place from acts such as the National Youth Music Theatre and Ghost The Musical star Mark Evans.

West End Live will take place on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th July. All performances will take place in Trafalgar Square and entry is free. To find out more, visit www.westendlive.co.uk.

Make sure you make the most of all that the West End has to offer this summer!

New theatre to be built in heart of West End

Westminster City Council has approved plans for a new theatre to be built in central London. The yet- to-be-named venue will be the first new theatre to join the West End in 30 years.

The project is being undertaken by Nimax Theatres, owners of the Apollo, Duchess, Garrick, Lyric and Vaudeville Theatres. Nimax have also recently acquired Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Palace Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue.

Chief executive of Nimax, Nica Burns, told the Finical Times about her excitement for the project: ‘I’m delighted that this beautiful theatre has gone on to the next stage of its development. It will add greatly to the potential of London theatre making. I didn’t want it to compete with other theatres. I wanted it to offer a different space for London in a fabulous location for actors and directors.’

The new state-of-the-art theatre venue will be constructed on top of Tottenham Court Road Station, which is currently undergoing redevelopment. Work on the theatre is expected to begin in 2017.

Plans for the interior of the building have also been revealed. The theatre’s design will allow for a variation of performance spaces to be created. There will be facilities for productions to perform in the round and in a horseshoe configuration. The theatre is expected to accommodate up to 500 visitors.