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A complete guide to @sohoplace | London Theatre



A complete guide to @sohoplace | London Theatre

Get to know the newest West End venue, which has already developed a reputation for bold, inventive programming in its flexible auditorium.

In 2022, London saw an exciting new arrival: the first new-build West End theatre in 50 years. Soho Place (styled as @sohoplace) is the brainchild of super-producer Nica Burns and is a welcome flexible venue right in the heart of the capital’s theatre district.

The theatre has already built a reputation for bold, innovative programming. Shows have ranged from powerful classical drama (Medea) to an atmospheric adaptation with music (Brokeback Mountain), critically acclaimed transfers (Red Pitch), and the premiere of a new British musical (The Little Big Things).

This intimate space can be reconfigured, operating end-on or in the round, and brings audiences close to the action. It’s a very different proposition to most of the historic West End theatres nearby, and offers vital creative freedom – as well as accessibility to both performers and audiences, something that contributed to the triumphant representation of The Little Big Things.

With more fantastic shows to come, such as a season of the Death of England plays, learn all about @sohoplace and plan your trip.

Get to know the history of @sohoplace

It’s very rare that we see a new theatre arrive in the West End. This bustling central London area is known for its mainly Victorian theatres – which are beautiful, and always a pleasure to visit, but can be somewhat limiting when it comes to staging.

So, it was a real thrill when Nica Burns announced the advent of @sohoplace, a 12-year project resulting in a major new West End venue with state-of-the-art facilities. The theatre, which is run by her company Nimax Theatres, officially opened its doors in autumn 2022.

There is theatre heritage here: the Astoria used to sit nearby, but was demolished in 1999 to make way for Crossrail. It seemed only fitting, then, that the advent of the Elizabeth line (which stops at Tottenham Court Road station right across the road) and Derwent London’s £300 million regeneration of the Soho area should also bring a new entertainment venue.

The new building was designed by architects AHMM, and the auditorium itself was dreamed up by Haworth Tompkins. The result is a sleek, welcoming space featuring a relaxing bar and restaurant, an outside terrace, and a multi-level, purpose-built, flexible theatre with a capacity of 602: substantial but gloriously intimate.

There is also an on-site rehearsal room, and a striking digital screen advertising shows which can be seen by passers-by on Charing Cross Road. It’s all the result, explained Burns, of asking “our greatest theatre creatives two questions: if we could build a new theatre in the heart of the West End, what would you like it to be? What additional facilities would be on your wish list?” Their wish is her command.

What are some of @sohoplace’s most notable productions?

The result of creating this flexible new West End venue is varied, inventive programming – as we’ve already seen. The theatre is also a much-needed showcase for work transferring from other places.

  • Marvellous (2022): @sohoplace opened its doors with the transfer of Marvellous from Newcastle’s New Vic Theatre. Theresa Heskins’s exuberant, good-hearted production told the true story of Neil Baldwin, a man with learning difficulties who nevertheless became Stoke City’s beloved kit man and inspired the world.
  • As You Like It (2022-23): Josie Rourke’s enchanting version of Shakespeare’s pastoral comedy featured luminous performances from Leah Harvey, Martha Plimpton, Alfred Enoch and, in particular, the Olivier-nominated Deaf actress Rose Ayling-Ellis. The show incorporated British Sign Language and captions into its fully inclusive staging.
  • Medea (2023): Sophie Okonedo also scored an Olivier nomination for her shattering performance in the title role of Euripides’s tragedy, directed by Dominic Cooke. He used @sohoplace’s intimate confines to make this a domestic drama in which the audience (where three members of the chorus were seated) became horrifyingly complicit.
  • Brokeback Mountain (2023): Annie Proulx’s queer love story set in Wyoming, which was turned into a movie in 2005 starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, became an exquisitely poetic memory play with music thanks to adaptor Ashley Robinson, composer Dan Gillespie Sells, and director Jonathan Butterell. Hollywood actors Mike Faist and Lucas Hedges gave knockout performances as the yearning central pair.
  • The Little Big Things (2023-24): @sohoplace premiered a new musical (directed by Luke Sheppard) inspired by the real-life experiences of Henry Fraser, who was left paralysed following a diving accident. This accessible venue showcased fantastic wheelchair-using actors like Ed Larkin and Amy Trigg – the latter going on to win an Olivier for her performance.
  • Red Pitch (2024): A major hit for the Bush Theatre, Tyrell Williams’s brilliant play about football, friendship, community, and gentrification got a welcome West End encore, allowing even more people to engage with this fresh new voice. Kedar Williams-Stirling, Emeka Sesay, and Francis Lovehall were all brilliant as the teenagers tackling a changing world.

The Little Big Things - LT - 1200

What is it like inside Soho Place?

When you enter this smart, modern venue, you’ll immediately find its Stars restaurant and bar (stars are a lovely motif of the theatre).

You go up one flight of stairs to find the stalls level, and then the first balcony and second balcony. Sight-lines are excellent from all seats, since this is a purpose-built and relatively petite venue.

How to get to Soho Place

The theatre is right next to Tottenham Court Road Tube station, which is on the Central, Northern, and Elizabeth lines. It’s also a short walk from Oxford Circus and about a 15-minute walk from Charing Cross train station. Numerous buses also stop close to the venue.

What Soho Place shows can you book now?

Heathers: The Musical, Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy’s darkly comic musical adaptation of the cult-hit 1989 movie – about cliques, bullying, romance, and murder in high school – has proved massively popular with West End audiences, especially younger ones. That makes it a great choice for an extra summer run, and it’s playing here until 6 July.

Coming up is a major theatrical event: @sohoplace is staging all three of Roy Williams and Clint Dyer’s astonishing state-of-the-nation Death of England plays. They premiered at the National Theatre but have never been produced in one season – until now.

It’s definitely worth catching them all for the full experience, but you can also see the plays individually. Read more about them in our Death of England guide here.

Death of England: Michael is first up (15 July-28 September), starring Thomas Coombes as a grieving working-class man whose beloved, but difficult, father has just died, leaving him to grapple with a racist inheritance.

Death of England: Delroy (23 July-28 September) follows Paapa Essiedu as Michael’s Black best friend. He’s in a relationship with Michael’s sister Carly, and is expecting a child, but has fallen on hard times.

Finally Death of England: Closing Time (22 August-28 September) features Erin Doherty and Sharon Duncan-Brewster as Carly and Michael’s Jamaican mum Denise, whose joint business has just failed after a series of catastrophes. Can they save their relationship?

Book tickets to shows at @sohoplace on London Theatre.

Photo credits: @sohoplace (AHMM and Tim Soar), The Little Big Things (Pamela Raith Photography)

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