Menier Chocolate Factory
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Exterior of the theatre
|Address||53 Southwark Street
The Menier Chocolate Factory is a 180 seat off-West End theatre, which comprises a restaurant, bar and rehearsal rooms.
It is located in a former 1870s Menier Chocolate Company factory in Southwark Street, a major street in the London Borough of Southwark, central south London, England, some 2.5 km from the theatrical West End. The theatre stages plays and musicals, live music and stand-up comedy. According to the Evening Standard, it is "one of the most dynamic fringe venues in London".
History and awards
The French company Menier Chocolate Company expanded overseas and built a five-storey factory and warehouse of brick with stone dressings in London between 1865 and 1874. It was listed Grade II in 1996.
The Menier Chocolate Factory was opened in 2004 in its current incarnation, the building having been derelict since the 1980s. It is run by artistic director David Babani. In 2005, the theatre received the Peter Brook/Empty Space Up and Coming Venue Award. In the same year, he and co-founder Danielle Tarento jointly won the Evening Standard Milton Shulman Award for Outstanding Newcomer. Tarento left in 2006 to pursue a solo producing career, and was replaced by General Manager Thomas Siracusa.
In 2007 the Chocolate Factory production of the Stephen Sondheim musical Sunday in the Park with George won 5 Olivier Awards, including Best Actor in a Musical for Daniel Evans and Best Actress in a Musical for Jenna Russell. The pair went on to perform the lead roles when the production transferred to Studio 54 on Broadway in February 2008.
In the 2009 Olivier Awards, Douglas Hodge won the trophy for Best Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of drag queen Zaza, in La Cage aux Folles. The production also won the Best Musical Revival category.
In 2010, the Chocolate Factory productions of A Little Night Music and La Cage aux Folles opened on Broadway. The former starring Catherine Zeta Jones and Angela Lansbury and the latter starring Douglas Hodge (from the original London production) and Kelsey Grammer. At the Tony Awards 2010 the shows won in the following categories: Best Leading Actress in a Musical – Catherine Zeta Jones for A Little Night Music; Best Leading Actor in a Musical – Douglas Hodge for La Cage aux Folles; Best Director of a Musical – Terry Johnson for La Cage aux Folles; Best Musical Revival – La Cage aux Folles.
The theatre continues to produce a mixture of musical and play revivals, new writing and comedy.
- Murderer by Anthony Shaffer – 10 November 2004 to 22 January 2005.
- This Other England (2005) – a series of new writing from Paines Plough, including Philip Ridley's controversial Mercury Fur.
- Tick, Tick... Boom! by Jonathan Larson – 31 May to 28 August 2005.
- What we did to Weinstein by Ryan Craig – 21 September to 12 November 2005.
- Sunday in the Park with George (November 2005), which won the 2005 Critics' Circle Theatre Award for Best Design. It transferred to the Wyndham's Theatre in May 2006, where it won five Olivier Awards. The production then transferred to Broadway in February 2008.
- Breakfast With Jonny Wilkinson by Chris England April 2006
- The Last Five Years by Jason Robert Brown – 18 July to 30 September 2006.
- Jeremy Lion For Your Entertainment by Justin Edwards October 2006
- Little Shop of Horrors starring Sheridan Smith and Paul Keating (November 2006), which transferred to the Duke of York's Theatre and then to the New Ambassadors where it closed on 8 September 2007.
- Total Eclipse by Christopher Hampton starring Daniel Evans 21 March – 20 May 2007
- Take Flight by Richard Maltby, David Shire and John Weidman July 2007
- Dealer's Choice (play) by Patrick Marber starring Roger Lloyd-Pack – 17 September to 28 November 2007 and then 6 December 2007 to 29 March 2008 at Trafalgar Studios.
- La Cage aux Folles (January – March 2008) A London revival, starring Philip Quast as Georges and Douglas Hodge as Albin/Zaza, opened on 8 January 2008 and played until 8 March, subsequently transferring to the West End from 20 October 2008, at the Playhouse Theatre.
- Maria Friedman Re-Arranged 19 March – 4 May 2008, subsequent transfer to Trafalgar Studios 27 November 2008 – 4 January 2009.
- The Common Pursuit Starring James Dreyfus, Nigel Harman, Reece Shearsmith and Robert Portal (May – July 2008)
- They're Playing Our Song starring Connie Fisher and Alistair McGowan by Neil Simon, Marvin Hamlisch and Carol Bayer Sager 25 July – 28 September 2008
- The White Devil by John Webster 3 October – 15 November 2008
- A Little Night Music Starring Hannah Waddingham, Alexander Hanson and Maureen Lipman, 20 November 2008 – 8 March 2009, subsequently transferring to the West End from 28 March 2009, at the Garrick Theatre.
- Rookery Nook by Ben Travers (16 April – 20 June 2009).
- Forbidden Broadway by Gerard Alessandrini – 25 June to 13 September 2009.
- Talent by Victoria Wood – 17 September to 14 November 2009.
- Sweet Charity starring Tamzin Outhwaite Book by Neil Simon, Music by Cy Coleman and Lyrics by Dorothy Fields – 21 November 2009 to 7 March 2010.
- Hannah Waddingham Live at the Chocolate Factory – 16 to 20 March 2010
- The Willy Russell Season (in repertoire): Shirley Valentine starring Meera Syal and Educating Rita starring Larry Lamb and Laura Dos Santos – 26 March to 8 May 2010.
- Aspects of Love by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Don Black and Charles Hart 7 July – 26 September 2010
- A Number by Caryl Churchill starring Samuel West and Timothy West September – November 2010
- The Invisible Man by Ken Hill 13 November 2010 – 13 February 2011
- Ruby Wax: Losing It 15 Feb – 19 March 2011 subsequent transfer to Duchess Theatre September 2011
- Smash! by Jack Rosenthal 24 March – 8 May 2011
- Road Show by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman – European Premiere June 2011
- Terrible Advice by Saul Rubinek starring Scott Bakula, Caroline Quentin, Andy Nyman, Sharon Horgan dir. Frank Oz- September 2011
- Pippin by Stephen Schwartz and Roger O. Hirson – 22 November 2011 – 25 February 2012
- Abigail's Party by Mike Leigh – 2 March to 21 April 2012 subsequent transfer to Wyndham's Theatre May – September 2012 and UK Tour throughout 2013.
- Torch Song Trilogy by Harvey Fierstein 30 May – 12 August 2012 
- Without You by Anthony Rapp August 2012
- Charley's Aunt by Brandon Thomas starring Mathew Horne and Jane Asher 20 September – 10 Nov
- Merrily We Roll Along by Stephen Sondheim and George Furth running until 9 March 2013. Subsequent transfer to Harold Pinter Theatre 23 April – 27 July 
- Proof by David Auburn starring Mariah Gale from March 2013 to April 2013.
- Travels With My Aunt by Graham Greene during May and June 2013.
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker from 5 July to 14 September 2013.
- The Lyons by Nicky Silver from 19 September to 16 November 2013.
- Candide by Leonard Bernstein from 23 November 2013 to March 2014.
- Two Into One by Ray Cooney from 8 March 2014 to 26 April.
- Fame: Not The Musical by David Baddiel from 29 April 2014 to 23 May 2014
- Life of the Party by Andrew Lippa from 27 May 2014 to 14 June 2014.
- Forbidden Broadway by Gerard Alessandrini from 18 June 2014 to 30 August 2014.
- Fully Committed by Becky Mode from 3 September 2014 to 15 November 2014.
- Assassins by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman from 21 November 2014 to 7 March 2015.
- Buyer & Cellar by Jonathan Tolins from 12 March to 02 May. Starring Michael Urie.
- Communicating Doors by Alan Ayckbourn from 07 May to 27 June.
- What's It All About by Kyle Riabko from 06 July to 05 September.
- Dinner with Saddam by Anthony Horowitz from 10 September to 14 November.
- Funny Girl (musical) by Jule Styne, Bob Merrill and Isobel Lennart from 20 November to 5 March.
- Menier Chocolate Factory – Restaurant Reviews[dead link]
- Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1385925)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
- "Interview with David Babani, ''British Theatre Guide'', 2007". Britishtheatreguide.info. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
- Reviews – Sunday in the Park with George (Menier Chocolate Factory), British Theatre Guide, 2005.
- Jane Shilling (13 June 2012). "David Bedella tackles the role of Arnold Beckoff with sparkling conviction". The Telegraph.
- Michael Billington (28 November 2012). "A superb production by Maria Friedman". The Guardian.
- Matthew Amer (29 January 2013). "Gale has Menier Proof". Official London Theatre.
- Charles Spencer (9 May 2013). "high-definition acting at its most enjoyable". The Telegraph.
- Robert McCrumm (21 July 2013). "The Color Purple is a feelgood show for a hot summer's night". The Observer.
- Dominic Cavendish (27 September 2013). "This horribly amusing Broadway import is laced with a surprising softness". The Telegraph.
- Michael Billington (2 December 2013). "a restless, comic-strip production that has a jaunty ebullience and two outstanding leads". The Guardian.
- Charles Spencer (19 March 2014). "If you enjoy farce, you will have a ball at this revival of Ray Cooney's play about lies and assumed identities in a Westminster hotel". The Telegraph.
- Jane Shilling (5 June 2014). "Broadway composer Andrew Lippa offers up a tantalising taster menu of his work that is sexy and sophisticated". The Telegraph.
- Jane Shilling (6 July 2014). "you'll weep with laughter". The Telegraph.
- Paul Taylor (11 September 2014). "A brilliantly funny tour de force". The Independent.
- Dominic Cavendish (2 December 2014). "Darkly Entertaining". Daily Telegraph.
- Dominic Cavendish (20 March 2015). "The jokes also on us". Daily Telegraph.
- Ben Lawrence (14 May 2015). "Frenetically funny". Daily Telegraph.
- Paul Taylor (17 July 2015). "An utterly delightful show". The Independent.