New venue to have 312-seat auditorium
London’s first newly built theater complex in 30 years, the St. James Theater, is to open a full artistic program in late September.Comprising a 312-seat auditorium, a 100-seat studio space, brasserie and bar within a residential development, the St. James is on the site of the former Westminster Theater, which burned down in 2002. Its location on Palace Street, Victoria places it near the Victoria Palace Theater, home to ”Billy Elliot,” and the Apollo Victoria, home to ”Wicked,” and tourist magnet Buckingham Palace. A.d. David Gilmore and assistant a.d. James Albrecht promise a varied program, including tuners, comedies and classic revivals, as well as offering a London space for touring and regional productions. The production model is for six to eight week London tryouts, as well as a home-grown production house with cross-subsidy provided by the restaurant. The studio space will concentrate on one-night stands and short-run comedy, and live music. The theater, designed by architects Foster Williams, houses multi-media broadcast facilities that can be used to broadcast performances on the venue’s own BSkyB satellite TV channel.