Plans to Raise the Roof of the Saville Theatre Submitted

THE GRADE II listed Saville Theatre was once one of the West End’s cultural icons and now plans are in to restore its status.

Architects SPPARC have submitted plans to raise the height of the building with a new six-storey roof extension. The new roof extension will house a 6,154m2 hotel for citizenM above the restored theatre.

The roof extension will be faced with bronze anodic aluminium cladding. Meanwhile, the roof itself features a 36m2 green roof area with a further 50m2 area also siting solar PV arrays.

Restoration Works

The existing building will be partly demolished and partly restored and refurbished. Additionally, the basement space will be excavated to provide a theatre space at lower levels. These are designed to house the first European base for Canadian acrobatic circus, Cirque du Soleil.

The plans also see an ancillary restaurant and bar space for Sui Generis at ground floor level. Cycle parking, servicing and rooftop plant, and other associated works are included.

The exterior of the theatre retains many of the 1930s details. A 130 feet (40m) sculptured frieze by British sculptor Gilbert Bayes around the building perimeter remains, representing ‘Drama Through The Ages’. The plans show the frieze will be cleaned and conserved.

Trevor Morriss, SPPARC Principal, said: “We are honoured to have been appointed to work on this important cultural site in the West End. Through skillful cohabitation with modern architecture, the preservation of London’s remarkable heritage buildings is a huge priority for SPPARC, and we look forward to reimagining this beautiful space to its original use and prominence on Shaftesbury Avenue.”

Plans for the Saville Theatre’s restoration and extension were rejected in 2017. On appeal, a Public Inquiry in 2020 upheld the refusal on the grounds that the planned change of use from entertainment was a ‘public harm’.

The architects say the current proposed development represents a more appropriate solution for the listed building by introducing a theatre, the original use. Moreover, the theatre lobby, box office and associated hospitality space are on the ground floor, reinstating the building’s cultural identity.

Saville Theatre

Acquired in October 2021 by Yoo Capital, the Saville Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue currently operates as an Odeon Cinema.

Once an illustrious theatre, the building was transformed in the 1960s by Brian Epstein into a landmark music venue, hosting The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who and other famous bands.

The theatre has suffered a lack of investment in recent decades. Now, Yoo Capital wants to return it to a live performance venue. The new scheme has been developed after discussions with Historic England and the Theatre Trust, as well as the local council.

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