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West End theatres vow to increase toilets as inadequate provision revealed

On average, female audience members in the West End would need an hour-long interval to all visit the toilet. Photo: Shutterstock On average, female audience members in the West End would need an hour-long interval to all visit the toilet. Photo: Shutterstock
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West End venues have revealed how they will address the toilet shortage in the coming years.

It comes as The Stage publishes brand new research into the state of West End toilet provision.

Research reveals Theatreland caught short

The Criterion Theatre, home to The Comedy About a Bank Robbery, had the worst toilet provision of the survey, with 15 loos for a capacity of 589 – 39 people per toilet. It will be addressing this by adding two loos by March.

The Old Vic has the worst ladies’ provision of all West End venues, with 56.7 women per female toilet. The theatre recently launched a £100,000 public fundraising campaign to help it carry out major works, including more than doubling the number of female loos.

A spokeswoman told The Stage that because the Old Vic is a Grade II-listed building with limitations on physical changes, the proposed works will take the amount of loos to the maximum number possible.

The Donmar Warehouse also acknowledged an issue with the number of women’s loos, with a total of just 11 toilets for an auditorium of 251 people. Only four of the toilets are for women.

A spokesman said: “We are very aware, and sorry, that currently the number of available toilets often does not meet the demand – especially for women.

“There are plans afoot to address this issue as best we can within the available footprint.”

Cameron Mackintosh is planning improvements across seven of his theatres, including the Queen’s where Les Miserables is playing, which will have up to 31 new loos installed.

See methodology and full data here

The Prince Edward Theatre, home to Aladdin, has six additional female toilets planned for this year, taking its total to 69, and the Prince of Wales Theatre, where The Book of Mormon is running, will have three women’s loos installed. Delfont Mackintosh is also proposing three extra toilets at the Novello, where Mamma Mia! is running, and one disabled and one unisex at the Victoria Palace Theatre, home to Hamilton.

The operator will also potentially add up to 12 cubicles in the Noel Coward Theatre, which could take its total up to 51 loos, and two extra female loos at Wyndham’s.

The Shaftesbury Theatre, currently home to Motown the Musical, is also undergoing a renovation, which will see the number of women’s toilets increase by nearly a third, from 23 to 31. The number of men’s loos will increase from 17 to 22.

Additionally, Theatre Royal Drury Lane is undergoing a redevelopment, which will see its ladies’ toilets increase from 35 to 54.

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