Reopening season at Old Red Lion

London theatre news: Wednesday 9 December 2020

Off-West End - Seasons - Theatres

Islington's acclaimed family-run pub theatre, The Old Red Lion, is bringing back shows as it announces its reopening season.
Exterior photo of the Old Red Lion Theatre, Islington, London

Photo: Peter Brown 2014

Much-missed during the bulk of 2020, Islington's acclaimed Old Red Lion is set to fling open its doors and bring back some welcome quality entertainment and hospitality to North London.

The venue today announced a new theatre season which will kick off on 17 December and continue through to the end of January.

Reflecting on the eventful year, the post-lockdown season will offer a streamlined programme of eclectic new writing, providing a live platform for shows that were denied their run at the Edinburgh Fringe this summer, or were created during lockdown.

With financial aid from the Arts Council England Cultural Recovery Fund, The Old Red Lion is now able to welcome back theatre makers and audiences as it continues its essential work to champion fringe theatre.

Alongside the already announced digital Christmas production December written by The Old Red Lion's Artistic Director Alexander Knott, the season will include: the world premiere of David Shopland (My Father The Tantric Masseur; Soho Theatre) and Shereen Roushbaiani's (Doctors, BBC) Saving Britney, a hilariously heart-breaking take on celebrity obsession and nostalgia to the backdrop of the #FreeBritney movement; John Berry's dark comedy Happenings about the lengths we'll go to live when nothing is happening; and Stephanie Dickson's BARK, a thought-provoking look at terminal illness and finding your place in the world.

The Old Red Lion's management team have partnered with another local family business, Bombay Burrito, to provide substantial meals to patrons in line with the latest government regulations.

And, to remain Covid-Secure and ensure social distancing is adhered to, the venue has reconfigured the theatre space to accommodate live audiences, running with a reduced capacity of 20 people and offering two performances each evening (6pm and 8.30pm).

Social distancing will be in effect throughout the venue, with the use of facemasks and the NHS check-in app as mandatory requirements.

Damien Devine, Landlord and Executive Director, commented ...

"I'm delighted to finally be fully re-opening the Old Red Lion after a difficult few months for us, and the hospitality industry as a whole.

The whole family has pulled together to make this possible, and I'm proud of the way we have adapted to the ever-changing challenges of keeping the venue COVID secure.

We look forward to welcoming the public back in time for the festive season, and really encourage everyone to support independent and family-run pubs like us during the critical Christmas period."

Managing Director Helen Devine added ...

"We are particularly grateful to be in receipt of a grant from the Arts Council Culture Recovery Fund to enable us to open the theatre for the first time since March.

We're excited to welcome theatre-makers and audiences back to the ORL, with a season of live shows in our socially-distanced auditorium as well as our first ever online production."

Having helmed the pub for 21 years, the Devine family are keen to ensure a safe reopening and support the local community with their theatre and sports offerings, a must for any Norwich City fans due to the pubs close affiliation with the Capital Canaries.

Alongside the implementation of food service, the theatre space can now also be transformed into a bookable socially distanced sports lounge to screen large gaming events.

The pub also features two outdoor seating areas with TVs, available for bookings of groups of six from mixed households.

Here's the season schedule:

Campfire (produced by Big Fan)

Written by Big Fan

Friday 18th and Monday 21st December

BARK (produced by Joseph Blake)

Written by Stephanie Dickson

Thursday 17th and Saturday 19th December

December (produced by Bag of Beard)

Written by Alexander Knott

Sunday 20th December - Tuesday 5th January 2021

Truth/Reconciliation (produced by Elegy)

Written by Matthew Gouldesbrough

Monday 28th - Wednesday 30th December

Happenings (produced by Printers Playhouse)

Written by John Berry

Monday 4th - Friday 8th January 2021

Saving Britney (produced by Fake Escape)

Written by David Shopland with Shereen Roushbaiani

Wednesday 13th - Saturday 16th January 2021

The Count of Monte Cristo (produced by Rather Nifty)

Written by Adam Elliot and Oliver Malam

Tuesday 26th - Saturday 31st January 2020


The Old Red Lion website (listings and bookings)

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