Above the Arts
The Arts Theatre is a 347-seater two-tier basement auditorium that has been holding performances since 1927. Opening as a members-only club for its initial early days, it did not face censorship issues under Lord Chamberlain’s office.
The performances shown at the Arts Theatre were far more diverse and experimental than what society at the time was used to, which led to the generally upper-class West-End deeming the performances “commercially non-viable”. And yet hundreds of years later, the site is still thriving and is still shining a light on up-and-coming performers and performances as well as hosting some of the biggest names in theatre of past and present.
The Arts Theatre also became home to what would turn out to be something of a theatrical revolution in the 1950’s.
Under the direction of a 24-year-old Peter Hall, the English-language premiere of Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” had taken place at the theatre. Waiting for Godot was considered a turning point in theatre at the time for the United Kingdom, changing the way in which it was viewed by the general public while Hall would become an unparalleled legend of British theatre.
In March 2015, the Arts Theatre introduced “Above the Arts”, which is a 60-seat studio theatre on the first floor of the site. Considering the smaller scale of the area, Above the Arts offers an even more intimate and immersive alternative to its main hall.
Paid parking, Toilets, Café