IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Vision for the new King’s Head theatre is revealed

Planning chiefs to decide on famous pub venue’s dramatic switch

22 April, 2018 — By Samantha Booth

An illustration showing how theatre-goers will see the stage from the balcony if the King’s Head’s move gets the go-ahead

ISLINGTON’S drama scene is to be boosted if the King’s Head Theatre is given the go-ahead next week to move into a new and bigger home.

The Upper Street pub venue plans to move into a modern facility as part of the £400million Islington Square redevelopment of the Edwardian Royal Mail post office.

Audience sizes would increase from its current 110 seats to two separate 250- and 85-seat theatres, just yards away from its current stage at the back of the pub.

The new King’s Head theatre would be able to welcome much larger audiences at its new home

Fiona English, the ­theatre’s executive director, said: “It will massively change the way the business operates. Having two spaces changes the lifecycle of how we can work with artists as they can move to a bigger stage if they become successful.

“It’s great for Islington Square to have a huge extra cultural resource, especially in the heart of the new development.”

The venue was the first London pub theatre to open since the days of William Shakespeare and gave renowned British actors including Joanna Lumley and Hugh Grant their break.

The King’s Head theatre on Upper Street

Nearby, The John Salt Bar is expected to house the theatre temporarily when works begin.

It is hoped the theatre can move into its permanent home by 2020 to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

So far, £850,000 has been secured out of the £3.65million needed to fit out the new theatre.

The Town Hall’s planning committee will consider the application, by developer Sager, which officers have recommend for approval, on Monday.

A spokesman for Sager said: “We are delighted to be able to support the King’s Head Theatre and the arts in Islington. We believe these proposals will bring significant local benefits, and eagerly await the committee’s decision.”

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