Trafalgar Studios 1 and 2, London
Current shows: Richard Eyre's adaptation of Ibsen's Ghosts starring Lesley Manville from 17 December 2013 to 8 March 2014
Architect: Edward A Stone
The Trafalgar Studios is a very fashionably designed 1930s art deco theatre which was listed Grade II in 1997. Located in Whitehall, the theater was originally called The Whitehall Theatre when it opened in 1930. The theatre was then renamed in May 2004 as The Trafalgar Studios - housing two perforamnce spaces called Trafalgar Studio 1 and Trafalgar Studio 2 - after the adjacent Trafalgar Square where Nelson's Column is.
The Trafalgar Studios are mostly associated with two people in particular - Phyllis Dixey and Brian Rix. In 1942 the revue The Whitehall Follies was presented here - featuring Phyllis Dixey whose claim to fame was as the West End's first stripper! So popular where these non-stop performances that Dixey took over the lease of the theatre and these revues stayed until 1947. These revues where then replaced by a farce written by RF Delderfield which was called Worm's Eye View which also proved successful and run for two seasons at the Whitehall bringing the total number of performances to 1,745. Following this another farce moved into The Trafalgar Studio, produced by Brian Rix and called Reluctant Heroes. This also proved successful and Brian Rix went on to produce many farces at this theatre, which collectively became known as The Whitehall Farces (the theatre being called The Whitehall Theatre at the time) and they began to even be regularly televised, reaching a far greater audience than the small Trafalgar Studios could seat. The Whitehall Farces stayed until 1969 when the theatre presented the 'nudie' show Pyjama Tops which featured Fiona Richmond and run for 5 years. After this an exhibition was staged here of memorabilia from the two world wars, but this breached the theatre's license and it was closed down. The theatre returned to legit theatre when it reopened in March 1986 after a major refurbishment and presented a range of plays, farces and musicals including When We Are Married, When I Was a Girl I Used to Scream and Shout, Run For Your Wife and A Tribute to the Blues Brothers.
The theatre was used to record various television and radio programmes between 1997 and 1999 - most notably the Channel 5 TV chat show Jack Docherty Show - with live theatre peformances sometimes taking place later the same evening.
In June 2003 the theatre's owners, Ambassadors Theatre Group (ATG), announced plans to close the theatre from July 2003 - the theatre briefly re-opened to stage the short lived play with music, Rat Pack Confidential, in September 2003.
In March 2004 it was then announced by The Amnassadors Theatre Group that, from May 2004, the theatre would, after refurbishment, re-open as The Trafalgar Studios providing a 380 seat space made by extending the seating in the circle down to the front of the stage. A smaller 100 seat performance was then built underneath the circle in the old stalls area. This small studio space opened in 2005.