Old Red Lion Theatre

Old Red Lion Theatre

Coordinates: 51°31′53″N 0°06′22″W / 51.5314°N 0.1062°W / 51.5314; -0.1062

Old Red Lion Theatre, May 2007
Address 418 St John Street
City London
Country  United Kingdom
Capacity 60
Type fringe theatre
Opened 1979
Years active 32
Previous names ORL, Old Red
Production Country Life

The Old Red Lion Theatre is a fringe theatre, situated above a pub at The Angel, in the London Borough of Islington.

It was founded in 1948 as the Old Red Lion Theatre Club.




The pub in itself is one of the oldest in London, having first been built in 1415 in what was then the rural village of Islington in open countryside and fields. A house called Goose Farm and some nearby cattle pens (for herds being driven to Smithfield Market) were the only structures to adjoin it, and St John Street (then called Chester Road) was a country lane.

"Evening" by Hogarth

18th century

In the late 18th century Chester Road became notorious for highwaymen, with patrols being provided to protect those travelling along it at night. At this time descriptions state that the Old Red Lion was a small brick house with three trees in its forecourt, visited by William Hogarth (who portrayed it in the middle distance of his painting "Evening", with the foreground being Sadler's Wells), Samuel Johnson and Thomas Paine (who wrote The Rights of Man in the shade of the trees in its forecourt).


The Old Red Lion was rebuilt in 1899, adding two exits onto different streets. This gave the pub the nickname "the In and Out", since taxicab passengers could avoid paying their fare by entering it through one door and disappearing through the other.


In 1979 a small studio theatre opened on the pub's first floor. The Old Red Lion Theatre has played host to some of Britain's most exciting theatrical talent since it was founded in 1979 as the Old Red Lion Theatre Club. Then led under the Artistic Direction of Charlie Hanson (Birds of a Feather, Harry Hill and Extras) it became a place for actors, directors, designers , writers and technicians to experiment and thrive with their art. After the King's Cross fire in 1987, the theatre was threatened with closure due to the tightening of fire regulations. A saviour came in the form of new Artistic Director Ken McClymont who raised funds to keep the theatre from closing.

Nina Raine, winner 2006 Most Promising Playwright Award, staged her first show 'Rabbit' at the Old Red Lion Theatre March/April 2006.[1]


Present and Future Productions[2]

  • 'night, Mother by Marsha Norman, 30 August - 24 September 2011 (extended to 8 October 2011)
  • Country Life by Peter Briffa, 18 October - 5 November 2011
  • The Firewatchers by Laura Stevens, 8 November - 3 December 2011
  • The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, 6 - 31 December 2011
  • Happy New by Brendan Cowell, 31 January - 25 February 2012

Past Productions

  • Chapel Street by Luke Barnes, 2 - 26 August 2011
  • A World Without Words, 19 - 30 July 2011
  • Waiting Like A Man, by Daniel Benoliel, 28 June - 16 July 2011
  • NIMBY by Lola Stephenson, 8 - 25 June 2011
  • Mojo Mickybo by Owen McCafferty, 17 May - 4 June 2011

Literary Department

The literary department reads over 1,000 scripts and has an open submissions policy. The theatre are constantly looking for new plays which help us reassess the way we live today. The literary has been responsible for the discovery of 'Chapel Street' and 'The Firewatchers'.

Artistic Directors

  • Charlie Hanson (1979-1987),
  • Ken McClymont (1987-2002)
  • Melanie Tait (2002-2004)
  • Helen Devine (2004-2010)
  • Henry Filloux-Bennett (Co-Artistic Director) (2010 - Present)
  • Nicholas Thompson (Co-Artistic Director) (2011 - Present)


Old Red Lion Theatre won the Dan Crawford Pub Theatre Award for 2006. [3]

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • The Red Lion Hotel Colchester (Colchester) — The Red Lion Hotel Colchester country: United Kingdom, city: Colchester (Town Centre) The Red Lion Hotel Colchester The Red Lion Hotel is located in the town centre of historic Colchester. Close to bars, restaurants, theatre and exhibition… …   International hotels

  • Theatre Royal, Drury Lane — Coordinates: 51°30′46″N 0°07′14″W …   Wikipedia

  • Red Skelton — Red Skelton, 1960. Birth name Richard Bernard Skelton Born July 18, 1913(1913 07 18) …   Wikipedia

  • Old Louisville — Residential District U.S. National Register of Historic Places U.S. Historic district …   Wikipedia

  • Icarus Theatre Collective — The Icarus Theatre Collective is a British theatre company. It is a non profit organization set up to explore the brutal side of contemporary and classical drama. [cite web|url=http://www.icarustheatre.org/|title=Icarus: About Us, Artistic Policy …   Wikipedia

  • Royal Court Theatre — See also: Court Theatre Coordinates: 51°29′33″N 0°09′24″W / 51.492583°N 0.156583°W / 51.492583; 0.156583 …   Wikipedia

  • The Old Vic — Not to be confused with The Vic Theatre, Young Vic, Bristol Old Vic, or New Vic. Coordinates: 51°30′08″N 0°06′35″W / 51.5022°N 0.1096°W …   Wikipedia

  • Royal National Theatre — Coordinates: 51°30′26″N 0°06′51″W / 51.5071°N 0.1141°W / 51.5071; 0.1141 …   Wikipedia

  • Sadler's Wells Theatre — Sadler s Wells redirects here. For the racehorse, see Sadler s Wells (horse). Coordinates: 51°31′46″N 0°06′22″W / 51.529444°N 0.106111°W …   Wikipedia

  • Her Majesty's Theatre — For other uses, see Her Majesty s Theatre (disambiguation). Coordinates: 51°30′30″N 0°07′54″W / 51.508333°N 0.131667°W / 51.508333; 0.131667 …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.