First look: Boulevard Theatre, Soho
Soho's new Boulvard Theatre brings all day dining, dizzying feats of tech, late night cabaret and four new shows a year to the heart of the West End
The Boulevard Theatre is a new producing house on the corner of Walker's Court, on the site of an old revue bar just off Wardour Street and Brewer Street. Drawing on the area's rich entertainment history and taking the Young Vic's 'all day hang out' vibe as inspiration, the theatre offers around a holistic experience in an elegant setting.
The Boulevard Theatre doesn't open until October 2019, but Culture Whisper went behind the scenes at the the building site to see how the new theatre is shaping up.
Spread over four floors, there's an all-day restaurant/ bar and a flexible performance space complete with a revolving circular stage and rotating balconies. With this dizzying technology, all controlled by remote control, the stage can shift from in the round to traverse via just about any configuration you can image. Compared to the surrounding West End theatres, it's especially cosy, with a capacity of around 160-70 seated audiences members.
Architectural impression of the revolving stage space
With artistic director Rachel Edwards at the helm, Boulevard Theatre will produce around four new shows a year. Having founded Tooting Arts Club and directed 2016's sellout Sweeney Todd set in a pie and mash shop, she's known for playful productions with an immersive twist. Edwards describes her vision for the Boulevard as 'eclectic, culturally diverse, innovative' and a little 'rebellious'.
Along with the season of plays there will be a late night programme and a 'Sunday Service' offering more varied entertainment from live music to late-night cabaret and comedy. With the ground bar and 80 cover restaurant serving unfussy, seasonal and predominantly (but not exclusively) plant-based dishes from 8am until late, the emphasis is very much on creating a welcoming space that can transition from breakfast meetings to nightcap cocktails.
Architects SODA Studio and theatre consultants Charcoalblue have worked to riff on the tradition of a playhouse with sleek contemporary touches. Already the building site has flashes of peacock blue and burnished gold, while vast windows and a statement glass bridge bring the buzz of Shaftesbury Avenue and Oxford Street inside.
Details about the inaugural Boulevard Theatre season are still under wraps (and due to be announced later this spring), but the intimacy of the stage space will necessitate more pared back productions, with smaller casts and relatively simple props.
And it's likely to make getting tickets tricky, too. Watch this space for updates.
The Boulevard Theatre opens in autumn 2019. Click here for more information and to join the mailing list.