An ABBA-themed restaurant will be coming to London next year, founded by Björn Ulvaeus himself, but it won’t be in Waterloo.
Mamma Mia! The Party experience is an “immersive dining experience” that recreates a taverna on the island of Skopelos, mirroring the setting of the first Mamma Mia! movie. Mediterranean cuisine will be served while Abba hits are played live.
A similar experience has been on offer in Stockholm since 2016 and has sold out shows there for three consecutive years.
The concept had been planned to open on a site in Waterloo, in a nod to the band’s 1974 hit of the same name, but Ulvaeus pulled the plug on the plans following protests from local residents.
They argued that the restaurant would encourage late night disturbances and that the site, which has been vacant since 1985, should instead be turned into affordable housing.
Now, Ulvaeus has found a new home for the restaurant, announcing that he will be bringing Mamma Mia! The Party to London’s O2 in spring 2019.
Speaking about the venture, Ulvaeus said: “We have long admired The O2 and the huge entertainment success it has become…we believe bringing MAMMA MIA! THE PARTY to The O2 will add to this already vibrant cultural destination and provide the perfect location for our exciting new show.”
Earlier this year, ABBA announced they would release their first new material for 35 years, shortly after the band gave details of a “virtual ABBA tour” which would see the four-piece tour as “virtual holograms” in 2019.
In a press statement released in April, the band said: “The decision to go ahead with the exciting Abba avatar tour project had an unexpected consequence…We all four felt that, after some 35 years, it could be fun to join forces again and go into the recording studio. So we did. And it was like time had stood still and that we only had been away on a short holiday. An extremely joyful experience!”
They continued: “It resulted in two new songs, and one of them ‘I Still Have Faith In You’ will be performed in a TV special produced by NBC and the BBC aimed for broadcasting in December. We have may come of age, but the song is new, and it feels good.”