A 50-seat fringe theatre has opened at a 300-year-old pub in north London next to the site of the New End Theatre, which closed around two years ago.
The Duke of Hamilton Pub in Hampstead has spent £14,000 to convert its basement into a flexible studio space so that it can produce and host shows from visiting companies.
Called the Duke New End Theatre, the venue has launched with an in-house production of Macbeth.
It aims to attract the audiences that used to attend performances at the New End Theatre, which was shut down and converted into a synagogue in 2011.
While it had previously hosted music gigs and comedy nights, the pub now wants to see its artistic programme expand.
Steve Coxshall, who is the owner of the pub and programmes the theatre, said: “It’s a space that can be used for a lot of things. The great thing with it is there is a 300-year-old bar upstairs as well so people can come and experience a proper British pub with a great atmosphere.”
Coxshall said that the theatre would operate on a profit share basis, but he aims to rent out the space for around £500 per week.
He added: “The reason why I started doing the music nights was to enable young people to aspire to put on shows by giving them a venue to do it in. Many pubs are closing down – if that keeps happening there will be no live music and the fringe will struggle.”