The modern theatre, the first in the UK to be named after a non-Royal female, is built on the site of previous taverns and music halls, where a place of entertainment has been located since Elizabethan times.
Officially opened as the New London Theatre in January 1973 and renamed after the choreographer of CATS in 2018, the Gillian Lynne has undergone a major restructuring aimed at increasing capacity and improving comfort and audience experiences; including additional toilets, new front of house, and the reinstatement of the original revolving stage.
Kirwin & Simpson supplied the new, modern-look seating with an ambitious target of adding 150 additional seats. Despite the re-instatement of the revolving stage, Kirwin & Simpson were able to increase the theatre’s capacity from 1,024 to 1,299 via a re-raked and extended auditorium balcony and additional room gained by narrow-envelope chairs. That’s 275 more theatre-lovers able to experience the brilliance of LW’s Cinderella.
Working to a tight budget Kirwin & Simpson re-used 95% of the original metalwork but redesigned the seat backs to tighten the seat envelope by 20mm. The compact envelope allowed seat ways of a very generous 500mm, this in turn allowed for long rows of up to 42 chairs. The Circle saw the biggest change with laser cut standard and two heights of tall backs to ensure all regulations were met.
The use of ProBax Comfort Foams improved comfort despite the change, and three back styles (short, tall and extra tall) were used across the auditorium. Other key elements of the design include a removable floor fixing system and LED lights wired into the upholstered end panels. all new polished woodwork with recessed numbers in the back falls in superbly with the new purple colour scheme.
Of course, every chair in the house has an excellent view of the stage.