Arts Theatre London

Posted on 4 July 2011

If you want to see something a bit different at the theatre then you could choose no better theatre than the Arts Theatre London. Check out the Arts Theatre seating plan and you will see that this small intimate theatre has just 350 seats. The Arts Theatre Leicester Square location can be found if search online for Arts Theatre Great Newport Street. The Arts Theatre club like atmosphere lends itself perfectly to exciting new plays not often seen in the West End. The Arts Theatre is now the West End's smallest commerical receiving house.

The Arts Theatre, designed by P. Morley Horder who converted an existing building internally at a cost of £18,500, opened on the 20th of April 1927 and because the Soho Arts Theatre started out as a Private Club for anyone interested in Theatre, public or professional so it was not held under the censorship regulations of the time and often put on plays that were otherwise banned in the major West End Theatres. The plays produced were often by new writers that were experimental and thought not to be commerical enough for the West End. During the 1940's over a hundred plays were produced at the venue and it became a mini National Theatre. Later Sir Peter Hall was responsible for the staging of the English premiere in 1955 of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, which ran for three hundred performances.

From 1967 to 1999, the Arts also became a home for The Unicorn children's theatre under the direction of its founder Caryl Jenner who became director of the Arts Theatre. Plays for adults continued to be produced in the evening, including Tom Stoppard's satirical double-bill, Dirty Linen and Newfoundland which, opened in June 1976 and ran for four years at the Arts Theatre.

After going under new ownership in the year 2000, the Arts Theatre officially became a West End Theatre where it has continued to put on a wide range of plays for both adults and children. This year has seen productions as diverse as famed children's writer David Wood whose adaptations of Michelle Magorian's Goodnight Mister Tom, Roald Dahl’s George’s Marvellous Medicine and Aardman Animations’ Shaun the Sheep are currently on national tour, visit the Arts Theatre with six performances of David Wood's Storytime over the Easter holidays to the world premiere of Bette & Joan starring Greta Scacchi and Anita Dobson, which tells the story of the famous feud beteween screen icons Bette Davis and Joan Rivers that came to a head on the set of the making of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. The Arts Theatre has also introduced a new "face to face" series of monthly interviews with well known faces from the theatre world allowing for audiences to get close up and personal in this Soho Arts Theatre club.

The new autumn season promises to bring more interesting and varied productions with peformers such as Trudie Styler, Meera Syal and Nicola McAuliffe taking to the stage in new plays after the summer play run of world premiere Park Avenue Cat, a new comedy by Glen Walford who recently directed Meera Syal in the hit production of Shirley Valentine.

So choose Arts Theatre London for your trip to the West End for something a little different on stage!