Theatre Royal Drury Lane

The Grade I-listed Theatre Royal Drury Lane, owned and managed by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s LW Theatres and built originally in 1812, is set to regain its status as the prime venue for musical theatre in London. 

The £60m refurbishment restores the public areas of the theatre to their former glory, reducing the number of seats in the auditorium from 2,200 to 2,000 for wider seats and extra legroom, while replacing all services in the existing Stage House and creating a new restaurant and offices. Disabled access has been improved by installing ramps and lifts on every level of the auditorium.

Skelly & Couch key works include replacement of all the front-of-house and Stage House services, integrating a new commercial restaurant and kitchen and providing cloakrooms, WCs, bars and access that meet the outstanding standards of the theatre. The front of house is more spacious with improved circulation. All lighting is replaced with LEDs, and there is a major intervention to the auditorium ventilation installation, with improvements to air distribution to avoid draughts and a 40% improvement to the efficiency of the system. Moreover, the back stage and stage house are modernised, with multifunctional elements allowing it to be used outside of performance times; unused spaces are transformed to provide additional public access and practicality to the theatre, turning the building into more of an ‘everyday’ space, as well as a vibrant focal point for Covent Garden, open to more than simply theatre-goers.

Shortlisted for two AJ Retrofit Awards 2022 – in the Cultural and Religious category and for Listed Building £5m and over.

'Highly Commended' in the 2022 Civic Trust AABC Conservation Awards. Judges’ Comments: “A beautifully executed project which sees the Theatre return to its original intentions.”

Winner of Theatre Building of the Year in The Stage Awards 2022. For 2022, The Stage Awards returned to Theatre Royal Drury Lane, its former home of nine years, and took place in the auditorium for the first time following its multi-million pound renovation.

Winner of a 2022 Chicago Athenaeum International Architecture Award and shortlisted for a New London Award 2022 in the Culture category. Winner of a Build Back Better Platinum Award 2022 in the Lighting Category. Shortlisted in the architectural lighting design (by BDP) category of Dezeen Awards 2022. Winner of the Restoration of a Georgian Building in an Urban Setting category at the annual Georgian Group Architectural Awards 2022. 

Winner of a 2023 RIBA London architecture award. The RIBA judges commented: "From a sustainability perspective, the building’s listed status limited what could be achieved. The project’s biggest win is the embodied carbon level achieved by retaining most of the existing fabric and limiting the amount of new fabric required. The project nevertheless targeted a 50 per cent reduction in operational energy. The increased demand from the foyer now being open longer hours is offset by more efficient lighting and plant." See the full citation: