In 2008 the London Assembly published a report which discussed the importance of investment in West End Theatres and the ways in which this could be funded.
At the end of 2012 The Dominion Theatre decided to add a small restoration levy to each ticket sold for shows at the Dominion. This money was then used to undertake renovation works on the theatre and enable the team to complete works earlier than planned.
The project is the biggest refurbishment and restoration project that the theatre has seen since it opened in 1929. This multi-million pound project has seen the theatre transformed to its original 1920’s grandeur.
Works began on site in June this year and lasted for just 14 weeks with Emplan acting as the principal contractor. The £6 million project has seen the reinstatement of the Orchestra Pit, the leveling of the stage floor, a grid upgrade, structural and decorative works, as well as the installation of a new bespoke flying and loft block system.
The on site team has also completely redecorated the auditorium, foyer and front façade as well as refurbished all of the circle bars. The rear stalls bar has also been refurbished and the Box Office has been completely overhauled.
Other works have included the upgrading of the theatres main boiler room and the installation of a new Boiler Management System. Bespoke carpets have also been designed and fitted to enhance and highlight the original art deco features around the theatre. A new Voice Evacuation system has also been installed and a new steel deck has been fitted on the Dominion’s stage.
Additional steel works were undertaken in order to improve the building’s structure and all of the front of house toilet facilities were upgraded. The on site team did encounter some difficulties including the discovery of asbestos which had to be removed from around the building.
The Royal Variety Bar has been converted into two function rooms for additional hire space and have been named; Royal Rooms. The balcony fronts inside of the theatre have been reupholstered and many of the doors and areas have been French Polished.
Much needed repairs to the safety curtains have also been undertaken as part of the renovation project. On the outside of the venue new Dominion Theatre exterior signage has been fitted as have LED lighting on the front façade.
The Dominion Theatre London is located immediately adjacent to Tottenham Court Road tube station at the junction with New Oxford Street. The site itself is bounded by Tottenham Court Road on the West, Great Russell Street to the north and Bainbridge Street to the South. The building was originally constructed in 1928 and converted to cinema use in 1930. In addition to the main theatre building, there is a large administrative and dressing room block on the right hand side and a terrace of shops, offices and residential buildings on the left overlooking Great Russell Street.
The theatre itself has a structural steel frame with brick elevations and a mixture of flat and steeply pitched roofs. Floors are concrete and windows are generally of the metal-framed type. According to the book “The Theatres of London” by Richard Mander and Joe Mitchenson, the theatre was once the site of the St Giles’s Leper Hospital, founded in 1101 by Matilda, Queen of Henry I.
A brewery had covered the ground as far back as 1764, and in 1809 Henry Meux took possession of the brewery, naming it Meux’s Brewery. This was pulled down in 1922, and while the site was vacant, it was used by O’Brien’s Fun Fair. In 1925 the site was levelled and opened as ‘Luna Park’. In March 1928 construction of the theatre began and the venue opened in October 1929.