Initial plans for a major refurbishment of the West End’s Lyric Theatre have been revealed, including a wide-ranging restoration of its auditorium, front and back-of-house areas.
One of six West End venues owned by Nimax, the Lyric has been home to Thriller Live for 11 years, and will undergo a programme of works after the Michael Jackson musical closes in June.
Nica Burns, Nimax’s chief executive, said the plans centre around improving the Lyric for everyone who engages with it.
“There are three sets of people we need to take care of, and we want to make sure the Lyric is a wonderful night at the theatre whether you’re performing, watching or creating.
“We want to make it a better theatre to make your shows in, make the audience a lot more comfortable and give them a beautiful building to look at, and also make the backstage dressing room block more comfortable and modern,” Burns told The Stage.
According to plans seen by The Stage, the front-of-house work will include a renovation of the venue’s bars and foyers, including a new mezzanine level connecting the back of the stalls to the stalls bar, and boosting the toilet provision.
The Lyric will have 18 more ladies’ toilets and nine more for men, in addition to one disabled, unisex toilet.
In the auditorium, the seating will be replaced to give audiences more legroom, new carpets will be fitted and the theatre redecorated.
Elsewhere, the theatre’s dressing room facilities will be upgraded. Additional dressing rooms will be created, with existing rooms refurbished and en-suite bathrooms installed.
Burns said a large proportion of the work would involve updating the theatre’s infrastructure, which she described as “not sexy, but important”.
“We had a show [Thriller Live] in there for 11 years, so we couldn’t get in to do anything. Before that it hadn’t had all of the infrastructure addressed,” she said, adding that when completed the works would revamp the “total experience” of attending shows at the Lyric.
The plans are currently being considered by Westminster City Council, which Burns said meant the project’s full cost and final details are yet to be confirmed, but would require significant investment from Nimax.
Despite having been home to a long-running show, Burns said the size of the Lyric’s stage means it will host both musicals and plays in future.
The next scheduled show will be a new musical based on the life and work of Bob Marley, which is slated to open at the Lyric in February 2021.