After 53 years of putting on shows in the back room of an Islington pub, the King’s Head theatre will close its doors this weekend.
The August 13 closure comes ahead of a move into a purpose-built theatre in Islington Square.
The new King’s Head doesn’t yet have an official opening date, but it will feature a 200-seat auditorium and a 50-seat cabaret space, with contractors already on site.
The final performance in the pub theatre on Sunday will be a celebration gala with performers including Mark Gatiss, Ian Hallard, Dame Janet Suzman, Linda Marlowe and Le Gateau Chocolat, each reviving roles they played at the King’s Head Theatre’s original home.
Founded by Dan Crawford in 1970, the Upper Street venue is one of London’s oldest pub theatres and became a breeding ground for talent with the likes of Maureen Lipman, Hugh Grant, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Alan Rickman and Richard E Grant performing, and writers such as Steven Berkoff, Tom Stoppard and Victoria Wood premiering their work.
In 2010, the Olivier Award-winning company Opera UpClose Productions became the theatre’s resident company for four years and with Adam Spreadbury-Maher as artistic director, turned King’s Head into “London’s Little Opera House”, winning an Olivier Award for La Boheme in the Best New Opera category.
The King’s Head Theatre is renowned for showcasing LGBTQI+ work and its diverse programme of plays and musicals, opera, cabaret, comedy and drag is expected to continue in its new venue.
To mark the closure of the original King’s Head Theatre space, we’ve taken a look back at moments at the iconic venue throughout the years.