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Andrew Lloyd Webber has sold the Palace Theatre in the heart of London’s West End so he can continue refurbishing the London Palladium, which he also owns.

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The musical maestro said the Palace, in Shaftesbury Avenue, where he wrote large sections of his hit Phantom Of The Opera, had been his “home for nearly 40 years”.

The 64-year-old said he was selling the beloved venue to “secure a theatrical future” for the Palace.

He said: “I am proud that under my ownership the auditorium has been restored, the magnificent front of house that had been covered with army surplus paint was removed to reveal acres of Italian marble and the theatre that John Betjeman described as ‘the only theatre architecture... which climbs into the regions of a work of art’ was brought back to its former glory.

“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.”

The Palace has been sold to Nimax Theatres for an undisclosed sum.

Lord Lloyd-Webber said proceeds of the sale would go towards continuing work on the Palladium.

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