The King's Head Theatre

The King's Head Theatre

Infobox Theatre
name = The King's Head Theatre

caption = Fill image
address = Upper Street
city = Islington, London
country = UK
designation =
latitude = 51.538056
longitude = -0.102778
architect =
owner =
capacity =
type = Pub theatre
opened = 1970
yearsactive =
rebuilt =
closed =
othernames =
production = Visiting productions
currentuse =
website =

The King's Head Theatre, founded in 1970 by the late Dan Crawford, is an Off-West End venue in London. It was the first "pub theatre" in the UK.

The theatre is located in the back room behind the bar at the King's Head pub on Upper Street, in the London Borough of Islington. The small area creates a very intimate setting for actors and audience alike.

The theatre is now housed in a Victorian building, but a public house, originally known as "The King's Head Tavern", has remained on the same site, opposite the parish church, since 1543. [ 'Islington: Social and cultural activities', A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 8: Islington and Stoke Newington parishes (1985), pp. 45-51] accessed: 09 March 2007]

Dan Crawford disagreed with the introduction of decimal currency. For twenty-plus years after decimalisation of the pound sterling (on 15 February 1971), the bar continued to show prices and charged for drinks in pre-decimal currency.

Crawford ran the venue until his death in 2005, when his wife and long-serving associate artistic director Stephanie Sinclaire took over. In July 2008 she was joined by Danielle Tarento as joint artistic directors. Tarento is best known as the theatre co-founder with David Babani of the Menier Chocolate Factory. [The Stage, News report 24 July 2008]

The King's Head has presented a wide array of productions: musicals, stand-up comedy, revues, contemporary and forgotten classics, and new work by both new and established playwrights. It has won multiple awards. Numerous productions have transferred to mainstream West End and Broadway theatres.

Artists who have appeared at the King's Head Theatre include Steven Berkoff, Kenneth Branagh, Kathy Burke, Judy Campbell, Ken Campbell, Dan Castellaneta, Quentin Crisp, Anita Dobson, Dawn French, Brian Friel, Rupert Graves, Patricia Hodge, John Hurt, Neil Innes, Ben Kingsley, Peter Land, Joanna Lumley, Jean Marsh, Sylvester McCoy, Ron Moody, Gary Oldman, Clive Owen, Susan Penhaligon, Nigel Planer, Michael Praed, Corin Redgrave, Alan Rickman, Prunella Scales, Mel Smith, Victor Spinetti, John Standing, Imelda Staunton, Tom Stoppard, Janet Suzman, Sylvia Simms, Victoria Wood, Susannah York and Leigh Zimmerman.

Many of them participated in a documentary about the theatre, "The King's Head: A Maverick in London" (2006), produced by Dragonfly Films and Xi Pictures.

Current productions

The King's Head Theatre recently relaunched with a season of World Premieres. The current show is the musical "Betwixt!" by Ian McFarlane.

Prior to Betwixt! saw the world premiere of a new Cole Porter musical "The Black and White Ball" with a book by Warner Brown


External links

* [ The King's Head Theatre site]
* [,,1528900,00.html Dan Crawford, Obituary]
* [ Review of the King's Head Theatre Pub]
* [ Betwixt - The Musical]

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