London’s Pub Theaters Still Thrive –

The NY Times has taken note of some of my favourite theatres like the Finborough and recognized the unique type of theatre experiences that they offer:

What Goes Best With Drama: Red, White or a Pint?

Like the storefront theater scene in Chicago, or the outdoor productions in parks, playgrounds and car lots across New Yorkin the summer, pub theaters are a beloved part of the play-making tradition in
England, especially London. Their lineage extends to the Restoration, when acting troupes took over empty dining rooms above pubs to perform plays of lewd material that went well with a pint. Later the Victorian-era music halls — a wildly popular amusement for the working classes — got their start in saloon bars.

Pub theaters proliferated in the 1970s and ’80s with the increase in theater companies of young artists and in-house playwrights wanting to do serious work on shoestring budgets in close proximity to audiences.

“What works in our favor is the intimacy of the experience,” said Tim Roseman, who shares the job of artistic director at another pub space, Theater503, with Paul Robinson. “You genuinely feel you are in the same room as the actors, that you breathe the characters’ air, and this makes for an electrifying experience.”  Mr. Robinson added: “It’s impossible to create that intensity when there are 1,000 people watching.”


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