Theatre-goers in west London have been given the shock news that Twickenham Theatre, which officially opened just four weeks ago with a sell-out production of Sweeney Todd, is to close.
Executive director Tony Green has been told that the building, which houses the theatre and a pub has been sold and the new owners had no plans for keeping the performance area.
The new London fringe theatre proved an immediate success with critics and the public. Cult musical theatre star David Bedella played to packed audiences in Sweeney Todd and the run was extended to meet demand.
Mr Green, a West End producer, was given just two days to vacate the premises after the landlord sold the building.
Sweeney Todd played its final performance on Sunday at the 100-seat Twickenham Theatre in West London.
Mr Green said the closure was a “total bombshell”.
He said: “I have been advised that the pub has been sold and that the new landlords ‘do not figure theatre as part of their plans’.
“To make matters worse, the new landlords, along with the brewery and the superior landlords of the site, are not going to honour the three months’ notice period I had in place.”
Mr Green is now actively seeking new premises in the area, where he has lived for 25 years.
Opening a dedicated theatre space in Twickenham had long been a dream of his.
“I wanted to create a dedicated performance arts space in Twickenham, and that’s exactly what I did.
“I am not disheartened by the recent news because the success of Sweeney Todd informs me there is indeed a market in the area for a fringe space which produces quality productions.
“So it means there will be a pause in delivering on the goal whilst we go out and find somewhere else.”
The theatre’s inaugural season was an intimate in-house production of Stephen Sondheim’s Victorian musical, Sweeney Todd, starring Olivier Award winner David Bedella as the razor-wielding madman and Sarah Ingram his pie-making partner in crime, Mrs Lovett.
Green said when he opened the venue: “Twickenham has not had any arts and entertainment venues available to production companies for over 250 years.
“By offering a new dedicated venue for quality theatre and other entertainment we can give locals the opportunity to experience some of the West End on their doorstep – and Londoners a reason to come to Twickenham”
The hunt for new premises has started….