Arts Theatre (Est. 1927)

Arts Theatre, London

Great Newport Street London, WC2H 7JB

Date Opened: 20 April 1927

The Arts Theatre opened on 20 April 1927 as a members-only club for the performance of unlicensed plays, meaning that the censorship by the Lord Chamberlain's office did not apply. This allowed the theatre to present daring, experimental and controversial productions not available to other venues.

The theatre opened with a revue by Herbert Farjeon entitled Picnic, produced by Harold Scott and with music by Beverley Nichols. Its first important production was Young Woodley by John Van Druten, staged in 1928, which later transferred to the Savoy Theatre when the Lord Chamberlain's ban was lifted. In 1942, Alec Clunes and John Hanau took over the running of the theatre and for ten years produced a wide range of plays, winning a reputation as a 'pocket national theatre'.

Notable productions include the first English-language production of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot (1955) and Tom Stoppard's satirical double-bill Dirty Linen and New-Found-Land which, opening in June 1976, ran for four years at the Arts.

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Wikipedia entry for Arts Theatre, London


Accessed 9 June 2020.

Arts Theatre Website


Accessed 6 November 2020.


A Slight Ache (Stage Premiere: Arts Theatre) (1961)


The Caretaker (Premiere: Arts Theatre) (1960)


The Lover (Stage Premiere: Arts Theatre) (1963)


The Dwarfs (Stage Premiere: Arts Theatre) (1963)