London’s West End is known for its beautiful and historic theatre buildings, but one of the most atmospheric places to celebrate a new show opening is an 18-century church in the heart of Trafalgar Square.
Although not a theatre itself, St Martin-in-the-Fields has played host to a number of first-night parties for leading West End shows including Young Frankenstein, Betrayal and Nell Gwynn – the latter having particular significance as Gwynn herself was originally buried in the Crypt of St Martin’s.
Today there are no bodies in the Crypt. Instead it has become a prime venue for press nights, theatre events and parties of all kinds. For centuries St Martin’s has been known for its warm welcome and hospitality, from its beautiful classical concerts to its pioneering work with homeless and vulnerable people. Thirty years ago, St Martin-in-the-Fields became a social enterprise, turning their grade-I listed crypt into one of London’s best-loved cafés by day and a premium events venue by night, with all the profits supporting the iconic church, its contribution to culture and its charitable works.
Its strong ethos and reputation for culture has made St Martin-in-the-Fields a venue that is much loved by theatres across the West End. “We have hosted press nights and events for some incredible shows,” explains Andrew Papworth, events manager.
In recent months, St Martin’s Crypt has held parties for Cyrano de Bergerac, Waitress, Girl from the North Country and many other hit shows. “We see the event as an extension of the show itself,” Papworth says. “Everything is bespoke and can be personalised to every individual production or client, including the catering which is all prepared by our talented in-house team”.
Led by executive chef and double rosette award winner Daniel Leavy, the catering team at St Martin’s passionately carries its enthusiasm for ethics and sustainability over into the food they serve, ensuring that each specially created menu uses the highest quality ingredients that have been sustainably sourced from quality-assured, family-run farms in the UK.
The Crypt is St Martin’s main party space. Its Georgian architecture is married with modern technology to give you everything you need for the perfect event; flexible lighting perfectly highlights the uniqueness of the venue and contrasts beautifully with the original exposed brick and the historic tombstones lining the floor. The Crypt’s high vaulted ceilings provide an atmospheric and acoustically brilliant backdrop for live music and entertainment.
“There are so many venues in London, but what truly sets us apart is our ethics, our commitment to the community and our dedication to supporting those in need. There aren’t many venues of this size that support the community as we do and that is the truly unique thing about St Martin’s,” Papworth explains.
Next time you are looking to host an event why not try St Martin-in-the-Fields? A place where you and your guests can enjoy a great night in an iconic London landmark, knowing that the money you paid will help support London’s homeless population.