Official opening of King’s Head Theatre’s new purpose-built home

The new purpose-built 200-seat home of the King’s Head Theatre in London has been officially opened after a decade of planning and development.

King's Head TheatreThe venue in Islington Square is behind the original King’s Head pub theatre where it was based for 53 years after being established in 1970 by its former artistic director Dan Crawford.


The new theatre, built with £800,000 of support from the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund, was officially opened by Justine Simons, London’s deputy mayor for culture and the creative industries.

King's Head Theatre

King's Head TheatreIt features an accessible, flexible auditorium seating up to 200, offices and a rehearsal space. It has two bars, one of which doubles as The Cabaret House – a second 50-seat flexible cabaret, drag and comedy space, which will also be used for rehearsals and readings.

King's Head TheatreNew photography, by Jake Bush, has been released by the King’s Head Theatre.

King's Head Theatre LondonThe King’s Head Theatre first welcomed the public in early January with the world premiere of Exhibitionists, a new comedy by Shaun McKenna and Andrew Van Sickle. It held its official opening gala last week, attended by friends and supporters of the theatre including actors Hayley Mills, Su Pollard and Luke Bayer and playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker.

King's Head TheatreThe project was steered by the board of the King’s Head Theatre, led by chair James Seabright, in partnership with Cain International, the developer of Islington Square, the retail, leisure and office development.

King's Head TheatreSofi Berenger, executive producer and interim CEO of the King’s Head, who leads on the artistic programming, said: “After around a decade working closely with the Mayor of London, Cain International, Islington Council and Young & Co’s Brewery, it’s fantastic to be able to open our new home.

King's Head Theatre“This is the start of the next chapter, and our focus now is now producing exemplary work for our main stage, opening our cabaret house, building new artist development programmes and becoming a hub for the LGBTQI+ community.”

Exhibitionists, directed by Bronagh Lagan, runs in the main theatre until 10 February, programmed alongside performances of theatre company Silent Faces’ acclaimed Godot Is a Woman until 3 February.

This will be followed by Turning the Screw (14 Feb – 10 Mar 2024) by Kevin Kelly and directed by Tim McArthur, which examines British composer Benjamin Britten and his close relationship with then 12-year-old actor David Hemmings in 1954.

King's Head TheatreOther shows include Liebenspiel’s Late Night Week (26 Feb – 2 Mar 2024) featuring comedy and formats such as Marcel Lucont’s Whine List, John Luke Roberts’ Terrible Wonderful Adaptations, a comedy Scalextric tournament, Hot Queer Magic and mixed bills from Sam Lake, Olga Koch, Hugh Davies and Chloe Petts. Above The Stag’s Eurovision Your Decision will run in the lead-up to this year’s Eurovision finals (29 April – 11 May 2024).

Touring sensations New Old Friends bring their farcical comedy Houdini’s Greatest Escape (27 May – 30 June 2024) for a five-week run fresh from its UK tour. After famous escapologist Harry Houdini and wife Bess are framed for a murder, can they clear their name in this knockabout thriller?

Jonathan Maitland (An Audience with Jimmy Savile, The Interview, The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson, Park Theatre) will premiere the stage adaptation of his acclaimed book How To Survive Your Mother (23 Oct – 24 Nov 2024), centred around his relationship with his mother, and growing up in Britain’s first-ever gay hotel.

The inaugural in The Cabaret House will include stand-up comedy from Jodie Mitchell, Hannah Platt and Lorna Rose Treen, cabaret from Bold Mellon and Rose Bruford’s MA Queer Performance students, and FutureQueer by Alexis Gregory.

Contributor: Stephen James


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