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Cock Tavern Theatre announces permanent closure

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Award-winning London fringe venue the Cock Tavern in Kilburn has been forced to close after it emerged that it had been operating without a valid entertainment licence.

Its current production of A Butcher of Distinction will transfer to the King’s Head Theatre in Islington, while A Cavalier For Milady has been forced to cancel its run but will transfer to the Charing Cross Theatre in the autumn.

The Cock Tavern had been forced to postpone performances earlier this week after it emerged that the pub in which it was housed did not hold an entertainment licence for the second floor of the building, where the theatre was situated, meaning that the company had been unknowingly operating without a licence since it launched in 2009.

Following discussion with Brent council’s licencing department, it emerged that the stairs which lead up to the venue and those which act as its emergency exit were “too steep and too short” and major work would be needed to alter them if the venue were to receive a licence.

The company has said that “structurally and financially” it could not afford to make the changes.

Artistic director Adam Spreadbury-Maher added: “I’d like to thank my hard working and talented writers, directors, actors, designers, producers, agents and general management for their dedication, commitment and passion to The Cock over the past 26 months. I also thank the press for their belief in, and support of, our venue and work, with special mention to the Peter Brook Empty Space Award, and the local and national publications. And to our fearless audiences without whom it would have been lights-out long ago. The Cock will continue to produce world-class theatre, so stay tuned.”

The company has now started a hunt for a new London venue.

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