The Arts Lab was an alternative arts centre, founded in 1967 by Jim Haynes at 182 Drury Lane. Although only active for two years, it was influential in inspiring many similar centres in the UK and continental Europe, including the expanded I.C.A. in London, the Milky Way/Melkweg in Amsterdam (where Jack Henry Moore was one of the founders) and the Entrepôt in Paris.
Drury Lane Arts Lab
The Lab contained a cinema in the basement designed by Jack Henry Moore and run by David Curtis. In the entrance there was a large gallery space directed by Biddy Peppin (David's girlfriend) and Pamela Zoline. In a separate (but connected) warehouse was the theatre also designed by Jack Henry Moore, who initially co-directed the activities there. Upstairs, the space in front housed a restaurant run by Susan Miles. Haynes lived in the back above the storage and dressing rooms. A number of other people lived in various corners of the building, and the all-night cinema was often seen as a cheap crash-pad. Such amenities made it perfect for live events and 'happenings' and helped establish it as the quintessential drop-in/drop-out centre of the London counterculture.
Arts Lab Movement
One of the most significant features of the Arts Lab was that it encouraged similar establishments to create other independent centres, many of which outlived Haynes' original, which closed in the autumn of 1969. On 18 December 1968 the Alchemical Wedding benefit for the Arts Lab and BIT took place at the Albert Hall, and following it, on 25–26 January 1969, the Arts Lab Conference in Cambridge emphasized the strength of the Arts Lab movement, listing 50 such centres across the whole country, including the Birmingham Arts Lab, Brighton Combination and centres in Exeter, Farnham, Guildford, Huddersfield, Loughborough, Manchester, Southampton and Swindon. David Bowie, who used to rehearse (and perform mime) at the Drury Lane Arts Lab, co-founded a Beckenham Arts Lab, which organised a one-day free festival, but was disillusioned by the lack of interest of other performers/artists taking an active role in the continuation of the centre. Dave Cousins of The Strawbs organized the Hounslow Arts Lab. The Havering Arts Lab run by future Stuckism founder Charles Thomson, aged sixteen, resulted in a headline "Sex Orgy Tale—Group Banned" in the local newspaper.
- Sue Miles obituary - The Guardian 13 October 2010
- Jim Haynes biography
- J.G. Ballard's 'Crashed Cars' Exhibition of 1970
- Philip Norman (2008) - John Lennon:The Life p 542
- Noel Greig obituary - The Guardian, 23 September 2009
- "Summer of love: psychedelic art, social crisis and counterculture in the 1960s" By Christoph Grunenberg, Jonathan Harris, Tate Gallery Liverpool
- Arts Lab Newsletter, 1969
- The Art History Archive - Stuckism
- Film at the Arts Lab and IRAT
In Other Words David Bowie -- Kerry Juby
- IT - Covent Garden - Jim Haynes has found a space for his new arts' supermarket - 28 April 1967
- Biddy Peppin and David Curtis talk for Adhocracy - August 2011 at Rich Mix Arts Centre
- LUX history - The Arts Lab, LFMC and IRAT
- Lee Harris' involvement with the Arts Lab, 1966-68
- Portsmouth Arts Workshop
- BIT Report on Arts Labs around the country, 1969 - compiled by Nick Albery