St James Theatre in London's West End opens

For the first time in 30 years a new theatre has opened to the public in London's West End.

St James Theatre in Palace Street, Victoria, was built on the site of the former Westminster Theatre which was destroyed by a fire in 2002.

The owners hope the £7m complex will attract new audiences and help foster commercial theatre outside the West End.

Bully Boy, a play by comedienne Sandi Toksvig, launches the debut season.

Originally a chapel in 1766, the building was then altered so it could be used as a cinema in 1924 and subsequently converted into a theatre in 1931.

For many years it was owned by the Moral Re-Armament movement which used it to present shows with a moral or spiritual message.

The new complex has a 312-seat main house and a studio space capable of accommodating up to 150 people as well as apartments.

The theatre will be fitted with multi-media broadcast facilities that will be used to show performances on the venue's own BSkyB satellite channel.

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