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London’s King’s Head Theatre gets green light for multimillion-pound relocation

The new theatre is part of a development only a few metres from the existing venue at the King's Head pub
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Plans for one of London’s oldest pub theatre to move to a new purpose-built home have been approved, as the venue looks to secure its long-term future.

The King’s Head Theatre, which is widely credited as being the first pub theatre in London since Shakespearean times, will vacate the home it has held for 47 years later this year to move into £5.6 million premises. The new venue will give the King’s Head a studio space for the first time.

The plans, under which the King’s Head will relocate into the neighbouring Islington Square development, were first announced last year and were approved by Islington Council on April 23.

London’s first pub theatre to leave home after 47 years

The council also approved proposals for the King’s Head to move into a temporary venue at nearby bar the John Salt. This will allow the theatre’s programme to continue uninterrupted while the new space is fitted out.

It is hoped that the 113-seat temporary venue will be in operation for a maximum of 18 months before the theatre moves to its permanent home, according to planning documents. This is still dependent on fundraising of £2.8 million to fit out the new theatre.

Plans for it include a 250-seat main space and an 85-seat studio – giving the King’s Head a second auditorium for the first time.

It will also triple the theatre’s capacity, which artistic director Adam Spreadbury-Maher said was “much needed as we are artistically bursting at the seams”.

He added that the current home no longer matches the theatre’s ambition and that the relaunched space would become a London hub for emerging regional artists and companies that would give them industry exposure.

“In our new home, we will be able to continue to experiment in how to push the boundaries of what defines excellent fringe theatre and opera, and we will be able to increase the amount and types of people who can engage with our learning and participation programmes and be in our audience,” he added.

The previous theatre space will be regained by the King’s Head pub.

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