Andrew Lloyd Webber today announces plans for The Other Palace, currently known as the St. James Theatre.
The Other Palace will officially open its doors in February 2017, and will be a key environment for musicals at various stages of development.
Andrew Lloyd Webber said: “I very much hope that writers and producers will use The Other Palace as a space in the heart of London where they can try out and refine new material without the distraction of complicated sets and automation. I had a great experience trying out School Of Rock at the Gramercy Theatre in New York in this way… I am also incredibly excited that Paul Taylor-Mills, one of the most dynamic young producers working in musicals, is to become Artistic Director.”
Paul Taylor-Mills commented: “I am absolutely honoured to have been appointed Artistic Director of the newly named The Other Palace. It’s a huge responsibility and one which I intend to embrace with fearlessness and openness. We are going to be flinging open the theatre’s doors and we want to hear from musical theatre makers from all backgrounds, whether they are established or new voices. It’s going to be a thrilling journey and one where we plan to take risks and make bold choices.”
The opening production in the main theatre will be Michael John LaChiusa’s Grammy and seven-time Tony Award nominated musical The Wild Party, directed by Olivier Award winning choreographer Drew McOnie, produced by Paul Taylor Mills, and starring Tony Award winner Frances Ruffelle. The UK premiere of Whisper House will follow in April 2017, a dark and thrilling musical ghost story from Duncan Sheik, the Tony Award-winning composer of Spring Awakening and American Psycho. The world premiere production of Olivier Award nominee Sally Cookson’s adaptation of the Fellini classic La Strada will then take place from May to July.
The first work-in-progress production will be Bateman and Conley’s cautionary fairy-tale The Little Beasts produced by Perfect Pitch, a not-for-profit theatre company dedicated to creating new British musicals. With full cast and band but a less developed set, work-in-progress productions will offer the very first look at a new musical. Audiences will have the opportunity to offer their feedback, placing them at the heart of the development process.
Following The Little Beasts, National Youth Music Theatre will present two productions, a new musical about the wonder of childhood, Imaginary, and Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s ten-time Tony Award nominated musical, Sunday In The Park With George, during August 2017.
The theatre will continue as the St. James Theatre until 28 January 2017, following the completion of Rent’s run.