Plans have been approved for a major refurbishment of Empire Cinema on Haymarket, which was formerly the Carlton Theatre.
The plans include the reinstatement of the West End venue’s original entrance design and improvements to accessibility.
Internal alterations will include the conversion of two existing auditoriums in the basement of the theatre into four smaller auditoriums, an upgrade to seating in the main auditorium as well as a refurbishment of the basement bar and toilets.
The Carlton Theatre was built in 1927 to host both films and plays, although it has primarily been used as a cinema since 1929 and is currently operated by cinema chain Empire.
In 2018, the building was granted listed status by Historic England in recognition of its architectural and historical relevance.
It hosted Kneehigh’s production of Brief Encounter the same year, and in a letter supporting the planning proposals, the Theatres Trust said there is potential to "revert the Carlton back to more dedicated theatre use in future should its cinema function cease".
The trust added it had been approached by parties seeking West End theatre accommodation enquiring about the Empire Cinema’s availability.
The letter from Theatres Trust said: "We are broadly supportive of this proposal, which is a heritage-led proposal with a stated intention to refurbish the interior and reinstate original architectural and decorative features and improve the building’s accessibility. This is to be welcomed."
It added: "While we appreciate the operational needs of the cinema operator, which has informed the subdivision of the stalls level and the over-raking of the main auditorium facilitates the installation of sofas in place of current seating this will come at the detriment of the building’s flexibility to host theatre as has been facilitated in the recent past.
"However, we do not object to the principle of this because it is a reversible change that wouldn’t preclude reversion to theatre in future."