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New theatre for Royal Docks approved

PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 February 2020 | UPDATED: 14:27 14 February 2020

An artist's impression of the Royal Docks Theatre. Picture: Wilson OwensOwens Architects

An artist's impression of the Royal Docks Theatre. Picture: Wilson OwensOwens Architects

Archant

A specially designed 360-degree rotating theatre will be built in Newham to host the UK premiere of a record-breaking Dutch musical.

Jeremy Brock, Theu Boermans and Fred Boot at the site of the new theatre for Soldier Of Orange - The Musical. Picture:Jim MarksJeremy Brock, Theu Boermans and Fred Boot at the site of the new theatre for Soldier Of Orange - The Musical. Picture:Jim Marks

Soldier of Orange is due to open later this year at the 1,150-seat theatre in the Royal Docks after the council's strategic development committee approved plans for the temporary building on Tuesday night, February 11.

The theatre, which will be open for five years, will be built on land in Keying Way, north of Royal Albert Dock. Councillors also gave permission for a restaurant and bar, small museum and car park.

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It is hoped the musical will attract 450,000 visitors to the borough every year. Audiences will sit on a special rotating platform, which will slowly reveal the panoramic set during the course of the show.

The musical is based on the true story of Dutch resistance fighter and British RAF war pilot Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema and his experiences in the Second World War.

It has been seen by more than three million people in the Netherlands, broken all Dutch theatre records and celebrated nine years of sold-out performances in October.

A spokesman for the Royal Docks Team said: "The successful show is set to enhance London's musical theatre with a 360-degree rotating auditorium, giving the audience a unique experience. This has the potential to attract 450,000 visitors to the docks each year, promoting reengagement with one of London's most historic spaces."

Susan Whiddington, chief executive of Mousetrap Theatre Projects, a charity which provides subsides theatre trips to disadvantaged Londoners, added: "We see the proposed Royal Docks theatre development as a tremendous opportunity for young Londoners, including those in the borough of Newham, and we are fully supportive of the application."

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