This Disused Grade-II Listed Victorian Theatre Might Be Getting A Facelift

By Olivia Emily

8 months ago

It sits in the heart of Notting Hill

There’s a dormant Victorian theatre sitting on Westbourne Grove, once playing host to the premiere of Oscar Wilde’s Salome. With planning permission to restore it now lodged, the Twentieth Century Theatre could be getting a facelift.

The Twentieth Century Theatre Could Be Restored

What was at first an unnamed, small theatre has sat unused on Westbourne Grove for a long time. With a history including the debut of Oscar Wilde’s Salome, it first opened in 1863 as an unnamed theatre component of a small arts centre called Victoria Hall. It then became the Bijou Theatre, and had this name for Salome, which ran for two performances to an audience of members in 1905, the play’s only performances before 1931 due to censorship laws.

It was then called the Century Theatre before becoming the Twentieth Century Theatre, the name it retains today despite having been used as a cinema and an antiques warehouse since then. It is thought that the theatre’s decline commenced with the opening of Baker Street’s Rudolf Steiner Hall offering a newer, alternative performance space.

Most recently, it has caught the attention of the Aspect Foundation, a music and arts charity hoping to restore The Twentieth Century Theatre to its former glory.

Planning permission has recently been submitted to restore The Twentieth Century Theatre as a 175-seat concert hall, serving as a performance venue in the evening and a rehearsal space in the day, primarily showcasing music performances.

According to Arthur Lloyd, the theatre is a extremely rare example of early rectangular theatres. The space has a gallery across the end facing the stage, and the foyer allegedly retains its moulded plaster ceiling.