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 Wednesday, 15 January, 2003, 13:16 GMT
US impresarios buy into West End
Trafalgar Square
A fall in tourism levels has hit London's theatres
Two American impresarios have bought into the West End by buying London's Playhouse Theatre.

Brothers Ted and Norman Tulchin are the new owners of the venue, once used for recordings of radio comedy The Goon Show and for concerts by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

They have produced a number of shows in New York and London, including Gagarin Way and Eden at the Arts Theatre last year.

The sale comes as London theatreland battles with a drop in audiences, with fewer US tourists coming to the capital.

A spokesman said the brothers "welcome the opportunity of becoming theatre owners in London and look to reinstate the venue as a major host of high-profile productions".

'Notable productions'

It will be programmed by West End producer Kevin Wallace, who said the Tulchins wanted to present high-quality productions and promote new writing.

They also aim to use the venue to support smaller, subsidised productions, and to take on transfers of "interesting and notable productions".

The 800-seat venue, close to Trafalgar Square, opened in 1882 as the Royal Avenue Theatre, becoming the Playhouse 25 years later.

It has hosted premières for Shaw's Arms And The Man and Somerset Maugham's The Letter, while in the 1960s it hosted a number of rock concerts.

More recently it has held seasons for the Almeida Theatre, the Peter Hall Company and put on award-winning productions of Ibsen plays The Dolls House and Hedda Gabler.

The West End has seen smaller audiences recently, with a downturn in visitors from the US since the attacks on the US on 11 September.

The purchase was announced on the same day as the capital's mayor, Ken Livingstone, announced a new scheme to promote West End theatre, particularly to Londoners themselves.


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15 Jan 03 | England
10 Jan 03 | Entertainment
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