The West End’s Wyndham’s Theatre is to undergo a renovation of its plaster ceiling to protect it for the future.
A planning application has been submitted to Westminster City Council to carry out the works, which include refurbishing the suspended fibrous plaster ceiling in its auditorium and making alterations to the void above it.
The works are intended to improve the longevity of the plaster ceiling, a feature found in many Victorian and Edwardian theatres but which has come under increased scrutiny following the partial ceiling collapse at the Apollo Theatre in 2013.
Theatres with suspended fibrous plaster ceilings now must have them inspected regularly as part of the Association of British Theatre Technicians’ guidance to ensure the preservation and safety of such ceilings.
Wyndham’s is owned by Cameron Mackintosh’s Delfont Mackintosh Theatres, and is one of the company’s nine West End venues.
The new plans follow similar works at the Gielgud Theatre. They include installing a fall protection system within the ceiling void and replacing a timber walkway on top of the auditorium ceiling with a more lightweight version supported by the roof rather than having it sit on top of the ceiling itself.
Other improvements will be made to the fixings of the ceiling in order to safeguard its longevity, and the ceiling will be redecorated to enhance the appearance of the grade II*-listed theatre’s auditorium.
The Theatres Trust has supported the plans, claiming they will reduce the pressures placed on the ceiling and make it easier to inspect in future.
“Overall, we agree with the objectives of this proposal as the safety of the audience, performers and theatre staff is paramount and the trust welcomes the precautionary approach taken to reinforce, refurbish redecorate and extend the life of the Wyndham’s Theatres suspended plaster ceiling,” planning consultant Ross Anthony said in a letter to planners.
Claire Appleby, the Theatres Trust’s architecture adviser, added: “West End theatre operators are all taking steps to ensure ceilings remain in a good condition and Theatres Trust will support these works which extend the life of historic theatres.”
Delfont Mackintosh declined to comment further on the plans, which are due to go before the council later this month.