King’s Head Theatre looks for new owner or partner

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The owner of the King’s Head Theatre in north London is looking for a buyer or partner to secure the venue’s long-term future.

As part of its plans, the 120-seat fringe theatre is hoping to double its capacity but needs additional financial investment before this can happen.

Stephanie Sinclaire, who owns the Islington site - which includes the theatre and the King’s Head pub – said she would hand it over to a buyer that is “sympathetic” to the venue’s history and future plans, but would also be willing to continue as a partner.

She confirmed that she has been in talks with some theatre representatives about a potential sale but said there was “no urgency” to secure a deal.

“There are so many things that could be done to the building to allow it to grow. Expanding the building would be good…We should all endeavour to ensure that its long term future is secured,” she said.

Sinclaire took over as chief executive of the theatre when her husband, the theatre’s founder Dan Crawford, died in 2005. She bought the whole site in 2010 from pub chain Punch Taverns.

She said: “We lost the funding grants in the late 1990s which broke my husband’s heart because he discovered so many artists, but now we are figuring out ways to keep going without it, which everyone has to do.”

Plans for converting the offices above the pub into function rooms are also an option for creating extra income, said Sinclaire.

The fringe venue is currently home to resident companies Opera Up Close and Theatre Up Close and is run by artistic director Adam Spreadbury-Maher.

He said that it would be “fantastic” to begin a capital project, which would see the creation of a new gallery space with additional seating above the theatre and improved dressing room facilities.

Spreadbury-Maher added that the theatre receives no subsidy from the government and currently has to fundraise £100,000 annually to keep the theatre open.

He said: “It’s no news in London that pubs have it tough, unless you’re in the West End and have guaranteed trade. Also, it’s an old building and although it is operating fine at the moment it would be great to do more with it and release some of the pressure of it being an independent pub.”