Dramatic transformation

The Shaftesbury Theatre is currently undergoing a dramatic transformation to ensure our building is ready for the years to come. Whilst maintaining the beauty and elegance of the original Edwardian building, we will be creating a new feature staircase, doubling toilet facilities, upgrading air conditioning, creating better access for people with disabilities and enhancing our foyer and bar areas, all to give our audiences a better experience.


Proposed plans for the Theatre’s new layout.


You will notice that some significant improvements have already been made in the Theatre. Our new bar and hospitality space, The 1911, has recently opened to the public, allowing audiences to enjoy a drink or a bite to eat before a show, or host an event for up to 150 people. Alongside The 1911, the new Taffner Suite offers a more intimate space for private hospitality or business events. The 1911 and the Taffner Suite were the first of many exciting new spaces to be unveiled in the Theatre, and the Dramatic Transformation has only continued over the past year.


A comparison of the existing Theatre layout on the right alongside the proposed changes on the left.


The recent building work has included many exciting updates, including –

  • Staircase remodeling to provide ease of movement around the building.
  • The installation of a lift to enable people with mobility difficulties to access the Royal or Stalls seating.
  • Space in the Stalls for up to thirteen wheelchairs
  • Increased toilet facilities, including accessible facilities at both Stalls and Royal levels.
  • Reconfigured seating in the Stalls and throughout the building, allowing audiences to benefit from the state-of-the-art air conditioning system.
  • Upgraded technical facilities offering greater space in the dressing rooms, alongside improvements in our Wardrobe and Wigs rooms and an outdoor space on the roof for all to enjoy when working in the building.
  • Enhanced safety platforms in the technical voids to better protect our teams as they create the wonderful effects for each show.
  • Reinforced ceilings with a regime of annual inspections, to ensure a safe space for all entering the Theatre.
  • Roofing insulation, including a waterproof membrane to eliminate the threat of water damage to our beautiful ceilings.


Proposed layout for the new foyer staircase.


In 2023, we have built a new suite of ladies’ toilets in the Stalls, as well as a new bar to service the Royal Circle – the Bertie Crewe Bar. Our new bar is named after the eminent 20th century theatre architect and designer of the Shaftesbury, Bertie Crewe, and features a fully-stocked bar and space for up to 50 people.

A new entrance will also be created opening the Theatre to Princes Circus, a piazza that has been created alongside Shaftesbury Avenue by Camden Council’s West End Project. Princes Circus has allowed us to open our new ice cream shop alongside our independent café, Box Office Brew, which sells drinks, snacks and pastries.

The final phase of work will see the interior of the auditorium totally redecorated with new carpets and seats throughout, still in an Edwardian style, but providing more space and greater comfort. There will also be a refashioning of our entrance foyer, making it lighter and more spacious. Finally, we hope to clean and repaint the entire exterior of the Theatre, introducing LED signage to decrease our energy consumption and provide flexibility for all future productions and events.