Cirque du Soleil could soon have a permanent U.K. home at iconic London venue The Saville Theatre, which is being revived and restored by Yoo Capital.
Located on Shaftesbury Avenue, in the heart of London’s West End theatre district, the 110,000 sq. ft, Grade II listed the Saville opened its doors in 1931 with a play “For the Love of Mike.” It was subsequently home to live performances and known for hosting the Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, The Who and Jimi Hendrix, before being converted to a four screen cinema in its later years. Yoo Capital acquired the site in October 2021 with a view to revive the venue.
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Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group has confirmed it is exploring the Saville as its first permanent home in the U.K. The live entertainment group is looking at the Saville as a venue that “would complement Cirque du Soleil’s annual Royal Albert Hall residency and offer theater-goers a more intimate space to enjoy incredible performances all year round.“
Eric Grilly, president, resident and affiliate show divisions at Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, said: ”We see a unique opportunity to bring back live entertainment to a beloved venue with fresh content and new ideas.”
Well-regarded architecture firm SPPARC is leading the proposed masterplan designs to accommodate Cirque du Soleil’s intended needs as well as the wider conversion plans that will look to incorporate a boutique hotel by luxury lifestyle and hotel brand citizenM and a food and beverage offering provided by Incipio Group.
Following public consultation, Yoo Capital – a real estate firm that has invested over £2.5 billion ($3.1 billion) into central London since its formation in 2010 – will submit planning permission when all elements have been considered and finalized.
Lloyd Lee, managing partner, Yoo Capital, said: “We are committed to contributing this beautiful building back into the wonderful tapestry of live performance around the West End by revitalising its theatrical and hospitality history in a modern way. It has been relatively forgotten and underinvested in comparison to its sibling theaters and the buildings along Shaftesbury Avenue. Our plans will look to optimise benefits to the local community and the West End theatrical, live entertainment and hospitality industry.”
Trevor Morriss, principal architect at SPPARC, added: “Having not operated as a theater for over 50 years, SPPARC is privileged to design a theater space that will rekindle the free-spirited creativity that made it a special venue for a great many globally celebrated performers.”
Klaas van Lookeren Campagne, CEO at citizenM Hotels, said: “We strive to foster a sense of community throughout the development process and into our operations, by featuring local artists in our spaces, supporting community initiatives, and heroing locals in our campaigns and through art displays on our buildings. We’re looking forward to bringing our affordable luxury concept to our new neighbours in Soho.”
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