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Arts Theatre London

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Arts Theatre London

6-7 Great Newport Street, London WC2H 7JB

Arts Theatre London Google Location Map Google Map: Google Location Map
Arts Theatre London Seating Plan Seating Plan: Seating Plan Open in new window
Nearest Tube Station Tube Station: Leicester Square
Parking Parking: Masterpark at China Town. NCP at Upper St Martin's Lane. Very limited metered parking available in surrounding streets- free after 6.30pm.
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Venue Information:
Guide Dogs Guide Dogs:

2 guide dogs allowed into auditorium. Staff are also happy to dog-sit.

Sound Amplification Infra-Red:

None at the moment.

Disabled Wheelchair Access Disabled Access:

Entrance to the auditorium via double fire EXIT doors to the left of the main entrance. Long, slightly sloped corridor takes one to the back of the Circle. 1 space for wheelchair/scooter user in the back of the Circle. Transfer seating for either 2 wheelchairs or 1 scooter user to an aisle seat - please ask when booking. There are handrails to the stalls and up to the circle.

Toilets Toilets:

Cubicle with some adapted toilet facilities at the back of Circle. Fully adapted toilet planned during refurbishment in 2005.

Steps Steps:

Access to main entrance via a slight ramp and through double doors. Box Office counter is straight ahead. 19 steps down to the Stalls to the right of the Box Office and 5 steps up to the Circle to the left of it. Stairs are highlighted with handrails on either side.

Air Conditioning Air Conditioning: Yes
Venue Owner Owner: Kingdom Entertainment Group and Wimpole Theatre

The Arts Theatre seats 347 in a two-tier basement auditorium. It opened on 20 April 1927 as a members only club for the performance of unlicensed plays, thus avoiding theatre censorship by the Lord Chamberlain's office. It was one of a small number of committed, independent theatre companies, including the Hampstead Everyman, the Gate Theatre Studio and the Q Theatre, which took risks by producing a diverse range of new and experimental plays, or plays that were thought to be commercially non-viable on the West-End stage. The theatrical producer Norman Marshall referred to these as ‘The Other Theatre’ in his 1947 book of the same name.

The theatre opened with Picnic a revue by Herbert Farjeon, produced by Harold Scott and music by Beverley Nichols. Its first important production was Young Woodley by John Van Druten, staged in 1928, which later transferred to the Savoy Theatre when the Lord Chamberlain's ban was lifted. In 1938 a four week revival of the Stokes brothers' Oscar Wilde, starring Francis L. Sullivan and produced by Ronald Adam, opened on 25 October. This coincided with a Broadway production of the play. In 1942 Alec Clunes and John Hanau took over running of the theatre, and for ten years produced a wide range of plays, winning a reputation as a 'pocket national theatre.'

In August 1955, Peter Hall, aged 24, directed the English-language premiere of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot at the theatre. This was an important turning point in modern theatre for Britain. Subsequently, from 1956 to 1959, Hall ran the Arts Theatre.

According to Who's Who in the Theatre (14th and 15th editions), between April 1962 and January 1967 the Arts Theatre was known the New Arts Theatre.

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 took over the lease. Meanwhile adult performances continued in the evening, including Tom Stoppard's satirical double-bill, Dirty Linen and Newfoundland which, opening in June 1976, ran for four years at the Arts.

The theatre's lease was taken over by a consortium of UK and US producers in 2000, for a five-year period, and relaunched as a West End Theatre with the anniversary production of Julian Mitchell's play Another Country, directed by Stephen Henry. Notable productions during this time included The Vagina Monologues and Closer to Heaven the Jonathan Harvey/Pet Shop Boys Musical.

The Arts is now owned by Kingdom Entertainment Group and Wimpole Theatre, a notable theatre production company.