Dramatic developments in London’s Victoria district… The St James Theatre – the capital’s first new-build theatre complex in 30 years, with a 312-seater auditorium and a more intimate cabaret and jazz space – is nearing completion and has announced its opening season.
Sandi Toksvig’s new army play Bully Boy does the honours, opening on September 18 with Anthony Andrews starring as Major Oscar Hadley. Directed by David Gilmore (no, not Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd, but the executive artistic director at St James Theatre, who has directed over a dozen West End productions), the play garnered great reviews on its regional tour last year. New to the UK, Daddy Long Legs, a musical romance featuring the original, award-winning Broadway performer Megan McGinnis, follows at the end of October, and Cinderella: A Fairytale is the offering for the Christmas season.
But if theatre isn’t your cup of tea, stop by for just that – or even a long island iced tea – at the St James, with its glam cocktail bar from which Mark Humphrey’s grand Carrara marble staircase sweeps up into a stylish brasserie. Both are likely to become destinations in their own right, and very soon (the Brasserie opening is set for the week of August 20). The Brasserie menu of seasonal British ingredients is overseen by Cordon Bleu chef Nicky Mackintosh, brother of Sir Cameron Mackintosh and Robert Mackintosh. Open from 8am, it will serve breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.
If all this sounds right up your street, the St James Theatre Club (membership from £24) is aimed at you and has a range of privileges. Full membership (£750 per annum) includes – among other things – a personal contact for all bookings, access to the VIP area, invitations to members’ events such as opportunities to meet the cast and attend rehearsals, plus complimentary tickets to two productions a year (founder membership is also available until the end of September for £600). And every Sunday is members’ day, with the brasserie open, live music in the evenings, and films being shown in the studio.
Audition the space soon – it’s likely to be a smash hit.