Choreographer Gillian Lynne is to become the first woman to have a West End theatre named after her, after Andrew Lloyd Webber revealed he will be renaming one of his venues in her honour.
The New London Theatre, where Lynne choreographed Cats, will be renamed the Gillian Lynne Theatre later this year.
Lynne’s relationship with Lloyd Webber has also seen her work on shows such as The Phantom of the Opera.
Lloyd Webber said: “I am delighted to be able to announce that the New London Theatre is to be renamed as the Gillian Lynne Theatre.
“Gillian has been a pioneer of British musical theatre and dance. Gillie’s groundbreaking work on Cats inspired and launched countless careers in dance. It is only fitting that the theatre in which she created Cats is named in her honour.”
Cats ran at the New London Theatre from 1981 to 2002.
Lynne said: “The minute I heard Andrew’s music I fell in love with his ability to channel deep emotion into a single musical note. He continues to inspire generation after generation with his passion for musical theatre and Great Britain has benefitted enormously from his brilliance and his generosity.”
Over the course of her career, Lynne has directed more than 60 productions in the West End and Broadway as well as working on 11 feature films.
She was honoured with a CBE in 1997 and made a dame in 2014 for her services to dance and musical theatre. She has also won two Olivier awards for Cats.
The theatre was designed by Paul Tvrtkovic and scenic designer Sean Kenny. It has been owned by Lloyd Webber since 1991.