“A new venue that’s changing the shape of the West End.” The Times
Trafalgar Studios opened on 26th May 2004 and, with two auditoria under a single roof, was the first theatre of its kind in the heart of London’s West End.
Offering audiences a chance to see theatre that would not otherwise have found a place in the West End, Trafalgar Studio 1 opened with the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Othello, starring Antony Sher as Iago. This was followed by John Doyle’s acclaimed Watermill production of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, the jazz and blues musical Simply Heavenly from the Young Vic, Losing Louis starring Alison Steadman and Shoot The Crow starring James Nesbitt. The following year, the RSC returned with their Gunpowder Season before Alan Cumming made his return to the London stage in the first major revival of Bent. Over the following years highlights have included Rik Mayall in the title role of The New Statesman: Alan B’stard’s Extremely Secret Weapon; Lee Evans and Jason Isaacs in the 50th Anniversary production of Harold Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter; the dramatization of the abolition of the slave trade, African Snow; the hit comedy Elling, starring John Simm and Adrian Bower; A Night in November starring Warren Mitchell; Riflemind directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman; Entertaining Mr Sloane, starring Imelda Staunton and Mathew Horne; The Mountaintop and Othello starring Lenny Henry.
Trafalgar Transformed and more
With a reputation for fresh and challenging new work, Trafalgar Studios started to build a loyal following. In 2013 James McAvoy took to the Studio 1 stage in Jamie Lloyd’s ground breaking production of Macbeth, which launched the much anticipated first season of Trafalgar Transformed. The season also featured Simon Russell Beale and John Simm in The Hothouse, and The Pride starring Hayley Atwell. Sir Richard Eyre’s award-winning production of Ibsen’s Ghosts, with Lesley Manville, followed, before the second season of Trafalgar Transformed with Martin Freeman in the title role of Jamie Lloyd’s production of Richard III. This was followed by East is East, with Jane Horrocks, before James McAvoy returned in The Ruling Class. The critically acclaimed Golem and Robert Icke’s stunning production of Oresteia then graced the Studio 1 stage in 2015 with Jamie Lloyd making his directorial return to the venue that year with The Homecoming and his contemporary adaptation of Jean Genet’s masterpiece The Maids, starring Uzo Aduba. Most recently Studio 1 was home to the hugely successful razor-sharp comedy The Spoils, written by and starring Jesse Eisenberg together with Sam Shepard’s American classic Buried Child, starring Olivier Award nominee Ed Harris.
Part of London’s Trafalgar Studios, Studio 2 presents inspiring, thoughtful and adventurous new work from the best national and international companies. Offering a uniquely intimate theatre experience in the heart of the West End, this 100 seat studio promotes new writing and celebrates fresh talent.
Cyprus, a political thriller by Peter Arnott from Mull Theatre launched the first season of work in Trafalgar Studio 2, an intimate, trailblazing 100 seat theatre showcasing new writing and innovative work by both national and international companies. Other highlights have included Horla’s new adaptation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol; Rod Beacham’s Lies Have Been Told – An Evening With Robert Maxwell; Michael Morpurgo’s Private Peaceful; Neil LaBute’s Bash; Lifecoach, starring Phil Jupitus; The Quiz, performed by David Bradley; Touched, performed by Sadie Frost; and New Boy, starring Nicholas Hoult.
In 2013 the Donmar Warehouse produced a season of plays at the Trafalgar Studios, The Promise, The Dance of Death and The Silence of the Sea which was followed later that year by Third Finger, Left Hand with Imogen Stubbs and the smash-hit comedy The Play That Goes Wrong which went on to take the West End by storm. Since then, productions in Studio 2 include Dessa Rose, with Cynthia Erivo; Boa, with Harriet Walter; Bomber’s Moon, with James Bolam; As Is; Rotterdam; It Is Easy To Be Dead; BU21; and Speech and Debate.
Trafalgar Studio 2 has been made possible by a generous donation from Christina Smith.