26 July 2022

The Earls Court Development Company to bring the wonder back with the 'Lost Estate' immersive theatre at West Kensington

  • Mannequin factory to be converted to immersive theatre for meanwhile use
  • Plans include affordable workspace for local creatives, an initiative for local graduate creatives, and free tickets for local residents
  • plans approved by Hammersmith & Fulham council last week (20 July)
  • the lost estate’s brand new jazz age production to premiere at the site in march 2023

The Earls Court Development Company’s (ECDC) vision to bring the wonder back to Earls Court took further shape last week as Hammersmith & Fulham Council approved plans to create a temporary visionary immersive theatre in the former Mannequin Factory adjacent to West Kensington tube station.

The theatre, operated by The Lost Estate, tells the greatest stories ever told through a fantastical fusion of immersive sets, world-class performances, themed food and drink. Founded in 2017, over 60,000 people have enjoyed immersive, imaginative experiences at The Lost Estate, the Mannequin Factory will provide a home for the next three years.

Tickets for their brand new experience, The Greatest Night of the Jazz Age, are already on sale with the experience set to premiere in March 2023. The experience will transport guests back in time to the opening night of notorious New York socialite Belle Livingstone’s 58th Street Country Club—the most outrageous club to exist in the twilight of the Prohibition era.

As well as creating a theatre space unlike anything else in the UK cultural scene, The Lost Estate will also:

  • place a focus on education and development, offering support and knowledge sharing to local groups and emerging creative entrepreneurs, and launching a programme with local schools to inspire younger students to see their future in creative and cultural industries
  • create an Arts Hub which encompasses affordable workspace for local emerging creatives and an initiative for local graduate creatives
  • offer 500 free tickets per year to local residents, to be administered by ECDC
  • prioritise local employment with job opportunities advertised through local services
  • extend its partnership with The Felix Project who work with local charities to deliver excess food to the homeless
  • inaugurate a placement scheme with Springboard, a charity providing hospitality industry training to vulnerable young people

Commenting on the announcement, Sarah Gaventa, Creative Director at ECDC said:

“We are thrilled to be bringing one of the most exciting and innovative cultural experiences anywhere in the UK to Earls Court. Our vision is to ‘bring the wonder back’ and The Lost Estate will do just that.”

“Just as importantly, working with The Lost Estate, we will be able to continue to give back to the local community, with free tickets, job opportunities, co-working space for local creatives, and support to vulnerable young people and the homeless.”

Eddy Hackett, Executive Producer and Co-founder of The Lost Estate said:

“The Lost Estate is delighted to announce a destination for our immersive experiences here, in West Kensington - a place wonderfully rich in culture, community, and heritage. It’s a pleasure to work alongside ECDC to create an exceptional temporary use for this empty building. Our plans will bring a number of key cultural, economic, employment and community benefits to the area.

Our next major production, The Greatest Night of the Jazz Age, will premiere in the venue in March 2023 and we invite you to visit www.enterthejazzage.com to find out more.”

The Lost Estate is one of several exciting initiatives being brought to open the Earls Court site back up whilst ECDC work with the local community to develop a long-term masterplan for the area. For relevant imagery, please click the following WeTransfer link.


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About the Lost Estate

The Lost Estate is a production company which creates live experiences that fuse theatre, live music and stunning dining, as one. In 2009, three Royal College of Music graduates founded The Arensky Chamber Orchestra, a daring young ensemble focused on finding bold new ways to present classical music. As their projects became ever more ambitious, encompassing opera, ballet, theatre and hospitality, the need to reform as a production company became clear. In 2017, The Lost Estate was born.
The company has gone on to serve a combined 50,000+ guests, gathering countless 5-star reviews, working with West End headliners like Obi Ugolala (George Washington, Hamilton) and chefs like the legendary Neil Rankin. As an entirely independent and profitable artist-led company, it stands unique within the arts industry. The Lost Estate now has a flagship London location in Earls Court, where local creatives can continue to tell some of the greatest stories ever told through a fusion of theatre, music, food, and drink.

 

About The Earls Court Development Company

The Earls Court Development Company (ECDC) is an Earl’s Court based business, responsible for driving the regeneration of the former Earls Court Exhibition Centre site, covering around 40 acres, on behalf of the Earls Court Partnership – a joint venture between Delancey (on behalf of its client funds including the Dutch pension fund manager, APG) and Transport for London (TfL) that was formed in December 2019. The first decision we took after acquiring the site was to hand back the West Kensington and Gibbs Green housing estates - originally part of the previous owners’ masterplan - to Hammersmith & Fulham Council.

 

Regeneration of the Earls Court site

We have had thousands of conversations with residents, neighbours and local business about the future of the Earls Court site. In late 2021, we launched our latest phase of consultation, showcasing the priorities that will guide the regeneration of the site. This involved a series of in-person public events, webinars and masterplanning workshops with representatives of the local community, to ascertain their priorities for the emerging masterplan.

Over the coming months, more detailed plans will be shared with the public, showcased
at in-person and virtual events, alongside drop-ins at train stations and markets.

Further information about the consultation, and the latest materials, can be found here: https://theearlscourtdevelopmentcompany.com/the-site/the-vision-for-earls-court

Early delivery at Earls Court

ECDC’s site activation programme is central to the early delivery of our commitments both now and for the longer-term masterplan. We have succeeded in opening parts of the Earls Court site to the public for the first time in over a century.

Since acquiring the site in 2019, we have developed close ties with our neighbours, local businesses and the wider community. Investing in the future of the area forms a core principle of our vision for Earls Court. To date, we have done the following:

Homes at Empress Place: Refurbished and bought back into use properties along Empress Place, which were left derelict. During the height of the first national lockdown, these were provided as homes for key workers.

Earls Court Community Fund: Last year, we established a £180,000 a year community fund. In October, grants were awarded to nineteen local organisations, including Dads House, Finsborough Theatre, Barons Court Project, Family Friends, and the Earl’s Court Community Trust, to support their work with local communities, young people and those at risk or vulnerable. Applications have now closed for this year’s round of funding.

Community Hub: Earlier this year, we transformed the former show home of the previous owners into a Community Hub in Aisgill Avenue, in the Gibbs Green Estate. Due to be open later this year, it will provide a range of exercise classes and activities for residents and be capable of supporting meeting spaces for local businesses.

Warwick Road Apron: Last summer, the ‘Pleasure Garden’ installation, designed by local artists Baker & Borowski, was showcased at Warwick Road Apron, as part of K+C Art Week. We are pleased to be holding another installation at the space this summer, supporting the festival for the second consecutive year.

London Wonderground: In collaboration with Underbelly, we launched London Wonderground last summer. In total, we welcomed over 114,000 people to the event, including the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak. We also created 120 temporary jobs and took 11 young people from the local area through the Underbelly Training Academy. Underbelly has returned to Earls Court this year. Launching in May and running until July, the festival showcases world-class performances and live shows, as well as providing the local community the opportunity to showcase on the bandstand and in the studio – a new, 75-seater event space.

Empress Studios: Working in partnership with Projekt, we have converted six derelict Victorian townhouses into 8,500 sq. ft of workspace for creatives and innovators within Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea. Opening earlier this month, upwards of 30 new workspaces have been created, providing affordable studio and office space for the local arts and science industries.

Lillie Road: We have turned our part of Lille Road into an active high street, providing opportunities for small businesses at The Pop-Up and providing space for small businesses and charities.

Mannequin Factory: We are working on bringing immersive theatre alongside creative and cultural spaces to the former Mannequin Factory an empty building to the northwest of the site. We’ll be announcing more details shortly.

 

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