Producer Cameron Mackintosh has revealed plans for his takeover of the Ambassadors Theatre – to be renamed the Sondheim – that will see it transformed into a space for transfers primarily from the subsidised sector.
Mackintosh wants to transform the interior into a three-tier space with 450 to 475 seats, with shows limited to short runs. Productions with longer-term commercial potential would have to move elsewhere.
According to The Stage, the historic venue – currently home to Stomp – will “host shows from non-proscenium arch spaces that originate in the subsidised sector”.
Nicholas Allott, managing director of Cameron Mackintosh Ltd, told the Evening Standard the plans for the venue are “satisfying a need that isn’t satisfied in the West End as things stand”.
He added: “There are very few people who would do what Cameron Mackintosh is proposing to do. He’s made a lot of money and is putting it back in… This is not remotely a commercial proposition. If you’re a commercial theatre operator, your dream ticket is Phantom where you sit back and take the rent.”
The plans, which also include a large rehearsal room and a cabaret space called The Sprague Room, are likely to be submitted to the relevant bodies later this year.
Arts Council England head Peter Bazalgette said: “The respected reputation of Cameron Mackintosh and his track record of investing millions of pounds in developing spaces in London is clearly well established and I am confident, if he is able to realise these plans, the space will flourish.”