Bringing the House Down - Piccadilly Restoration
By Rebecca Holloway
The Piccadilly Theatre has been the West End home of Jersey Boys for the last three years, and so when they finally said "Bye Bye Baby" in March this year, we decided it was time to give the Piccadilly some TLC (Theatre Loving Care). ATG took on the mammoth project of restoring the roof of the historic auditorium to its former glory by recreating the dome that sits proudly above the stalls.
The Piccadilly first opened its doors on Denman Street in April 1928 as a cinema, and made entertainment history by playing the nation's very first talking picture. At this time, the theatres souvenir booklet also claimed that, "If all the bricks used in the building were laid in a straight line, they would stretch from London to Paris." Now this is quite the claim... But after all the work weve done and all the bricks weve shifted, this actually wouldnt surprise us!
A building that has hosted theatre royalty such as Sir Ian McKellen and Judi Dench surely deserves an equally royal treatment. Over the last few months, the back-of-house has gone through a significant number of changes to keep the Piccadilly running as smoothly as possible. 28 dressing rooms, 3 offices and a couple of toilets were all completely stripped and re-done in a four week schedule.
However, the main focus of the work at the Piccadilly Theatre over the last two months has been to restore the ceiling to its former glory. Weve done this by updating and raising the lighting rigs, allowing us to recreate the dome that shines above the audience.
For the duration of the work, our Chief Electrician set up a time-lapse camera and weve condensed the entire process into exactly 3 minutes and 44 seconds worth of viewing. Check it out in full below:
The first show to air under the new dome will be Annie, staring Miranda Hart. It opens at the Piccadilly this week.
Click here to book tickets, and to see pictures of the dog playing Sandy (because lets face it, who can resist that little face?)
Did you know?
This project wasnt even our quickest on record... Last year at the Phoenix Theatre, 18 dressing rooms were stripped completely bare, rebuilt, fully decorated and ready for use all within 11 days!
Currently showing at the Phoenix is the award-winning musical, The Girls, with music and lyrics by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth. To read more about the production and book tickets, click here.