The producers of the Lord of the Rings musical have abandoned plans to hold the world premiere in Britain because they cannot find a theatre big enough.
The £11.5 million adaptation of the JRR Tolkien trilogy - destined to be the most expensive musical in history - had been due to open in London in December.
But the premiere has now been switched to Toronto because there is no West End theatre available which could accommodate the lavish stage-show.
It will not come to Britain until at least late 2006.
Producer Kevin Wallace said: "I know there will be a lot of disappointed British Tolkien fans who hoped to see the show in London, but we couldn't get a theatre in time.
"It's going to be a year before they can see it here. But it is worth waiting for."
The show requires a theatre with a large stage to accommodate the set, which recreates Middle Earth.
There will be elaborate battle scenes and the cast will include a host of circus-trained performers alongside the actors.
Only three West End theatres - the Lyceum, Dominion and Theatre Royal Drury Lane - are big enough. But they are currently packing in audiences for The Lion King, We Will Rock You and The Producers respectively.
The Dominion is the likely home for the production when it eventually opens. The world premiere will now take place at the Princess of Wales Theatre in
Toronto in March 2006. Speaking from Canada after flying in to seal the deal, Wallace said: " Toronto really wanted this premiere. The
Tolkien books and films are hugely popular in Canada. We hope the anticipation and excitement over here will create an even bigger buzz by the time we open in London." Auditions begin in Canada on Thursday but up to five British actors may join the cast, under a deal struck with Canadian Actors' Equity.
The premiere will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the publication of the Tolkien trilogy - The Fellowship Of The Ring, The Two Towers and The Return Of The King.
Bollywood composer AR Rahman has written the music and Matthew Warchus will direct.
Warchus said: "The production will be a hybrid of text, physical theatre, music and spectacle never previously seen on this scale.
"To read the novel is to experience the events of Middle Earth in the mind's eye. To watch the films is to view Middle Earth as though through a giant window.
"Only in the theatre are we actually plunged into the events as they happen. The environment surrounds us and we are in Middle Earth." Workshops for the British production have already taken place but no casting decisions have been made.
The film trilogy starred Orlando Bloom, Elijah Wood and Sir Ian McKellen as the white wizard Gandalf.