Nimax buys Lloyd Webber’s Palace

, first published
Max Weitzenhoffer and Nica Burns (Photo: Rex Features)

Nimax Theatres Limited is now the proud owners of the Palace theatre after purchasing the historic building from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s company the Really Useful Group, taking its total number of West End theatres to six.

Nimax Theatres Limited is run by former Society of London Theatre President Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer. In 2005 the company brought four playhouses from Lloyd Webber, the Lyric, Apollo, Garrick and Duchess theatres, with Burns and Weitzenhoffer purchasing the Vaudeville theatre in 2008.

The Palace theatre is currently home to the critically acclaimed Singin’ In The Rain and since becoming popular as a musical theatre venue in the 1920s has housed other hit musicals including The Sound Of Music, Les Misérables and Jesus Christ Superstar. Lloyd Webber, who describes the theatre as having been his “home for nearly 40 years”, brought the theatre in 1983 transforming it to back to its former glory.

The theatre impresario released a statement revealing his reasons for selling the venue, making it clear he would remain a part of the theatre’s future, saying: “First, and most importantly, I want to see a secure theatrical future for the Palace as I do the other historic theatres that I own through Really Useful Theatres. I can think of no better future custodians of Britain’s finest Victorian theatre than my friends Nica and Max. Secondly, the proceeds of the sale will be used to repay debt and to strengthen the balance sheet of Really Useful Theatres. This will allow me to plan the future of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and continue work on refurbishing the London Palladium. Lastly, Nica and Max are completely aware of my passion for the Palace and we have agreed that if there is a major theatrical reworking of the building, I will partner them.”

Burns and Weitzenhoffer echoed his sentiments saying: “We are honoured that Andrew Lloyd Webber has entrusted us with the guardianship of this iconic building with its extraordinary history and will cherish it as he does. We have longed to own a major musical house and it doesn’t get much better than the Palace.”

The theatrical pair, for whom the Palace theatre marks their biggest venue yet with 1383 seats, were named as the 11th most influential people in theatre this year by The Stage newspaper after producing recent hit productions including Pygmalion and When We Were Married. Their latest co-production Long Day’s Journey Into Night opened last night to a host of four star reviews.

The Really Useful Group continues to own the Adelphi theatre, Cambridge theatre, Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Her Majesty’s theatre, the London Palladium and the New London theatre.

"I can think of no better future custodians of Britain’s finest Victorian theatre than my friends Nica and Max"

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