Park Theatre (London)

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Park Theatre
Photo of Park Theatre exterior, London, 2013.jpg
Location 11 Clifton Terrace
Finsbury Park
London, N4 3JP
Coordinates 51°33′57″N 0°06′31″W / 51.5657°N 0.1085°W / 51.5657; -0.1085Coordinates: 51°33′57″N 0°06′31″W / 51.5657°N 0.1085°W / 51.5657; -0.1085
Public transit London Underground National Rail Finsbury Park
Opened 2013; 5 years ago (2013)
Architect David Hughes

Park Theatre opened on 8 May 2013 in Finsbury Park, London.[1] Described as "a neighbourhood theatre with global ambition," it offers a mixed programme of new writing, classics, and revivals. As well as the main auditorium seating 200, the building includes a 90-seat studio theatre, a rehearsal space and a Café Bar.[2]


In November 2009, Artistic Director Jez Bond and Creative Director Melli Marie acquired a disused three-storey office building at 11-13 Clifton Terrace.[3] Planning permission was granted in October 2010.[4] The theatre was designed by David Hughes.[5][6] Following a campaign supported by prominent theatre figures such as Sir Ian McKellen and Alan Rickman, the £2.6m cost was met by private donors and by the sale of flats built above the theatre.[7][8][9]

The two auditoria, Park200 and Park90, have natural light which can be blacked out electronically. Park200 is a thrust stage with fixed seating on three sides, and can be configured for “theatre in the round.” Park90’s flexible seating can be laid out in a range of configurations. The Morris Space on the third floor is used for workshops, classes, and performances for up to 60 people. Backstage are three dressing rooms, a green room, wardrobe, offices and prop stores.[6] The Café Bar also hosts occasional cabaret and songwriting performances.


Highlights of the opening season included the UK premiere of These Shining Lives by Melanie Marnich with a cast featuring Honeysuckle Weeks and Charity Wakefield and the world premiere of Oliver Cotton's Daytona, starring Maureen Lipman, which then toured the UK.[10]

The theatre has had critical and box office successes with different types of productions. These include:

  • New British plays by British authors including Sarah Rutherford's Adult Supervision (September 2013),[11] Andrew Keatley's The Gathered Leaves (July 2015),[12] and Jonathan Lynn's The Patriotic Traitor (February 2016).[13] Journalist-turned-playwright Jonathan Maitland's Dead Sheep[14] and An Audience with Jimmy Saville both drew sellout crowds in 2015.
  • Revivals such Richard Bean's Toast (August 2014) and David Hare's The Vertical Hour (September 2014), both of which premiered at the Royal Court Theatre. A successful revival of Muswell Hill by Torben Betts played at the theatre in February 2015.
  • UK premieres or revivals of acclaimed North American plays such as Almost, Maine (December 2015) and The Boys in the Band (October 2016), the latter subsequently transferring to the West End.[15]
  • Musicals such as The Buskers' Opera (April 2016)[16] and The Burnt Part Boys (August 2016).

The theatre has also presented innovative work such as Grounded which incorporated British Sign Language (October 2015),[17] and Brainstorm (2015), an exploration of the teenage brain in cooperation with Islington Community Theatre, the Wellcome Trust and the National Theatre.[18] Avaes Mohammad's double bill about radicalization in the UK Hurling Rubble at the Sun/Hurling Rubble at the Moon was premiered in May 2015.[19]

Many Park Theatre plays have moved on to the West End, most recently the Second World War drama Pressure, which following a sold-out April 2018 run in Park200 went on to the Ambassadors Theatre in June.[20].

Park Theatre won The Stage magazine's Fringe Theatre of the Year Award for 2015.[21] Reflecting the theatre's unsubsidized status (it is a registered charity), the majority of plays have been financed by external production companies, with Park Theatre acting as the host venue. It plans to stage an increasing number of in-house productions as funds become available. In July 2017, Ian McKellen premiered a new one-man show, Shakespeare, Tolkien, Others & You in the Park200, donating the entire proceeds of the nine-performance run to the theatre.[22][23]

In 2018 the theatre began to realize its ambition of producing or co-producing a greater proportion of shows. It began in May with its own production of Robert Schenkkan's post-Trump dystopia Building the Wall, directed by Jez Bond.[24] The second in-house production of 2018 was the world premiere of Danny Robins' The End of the Pier, directed by Hanna Price, running from 11 July to 11 August.[25].

Script Accelerator[edit]

Park Theatre's Script Accelerator programme began in 2013, inviting producers or theatre companies to pitch a play they would like to develop.[26] Six are selected each year. Each producer selects actors and a director, and is given professional advice and working time within the building to develop the script. The four-weeks process culminates with a 20-minute critiqued presentation of each piece to an audience in Park200. Some scripts have gone on to full productions. Hot Coals Theatre Ensemble's Storm in a Teacup (February 2014)[27] and Michael Ross's Happy to Help (June 2016)[28] were both Script Accelerator selections which went on to play in Park90's regular season.

Social responsibility[edit]

Like many of London’s independent theatres, Park Theatre aims to be both a good neighbour locally and a progressive social influence. With donor support, it discounts a substantial number of tickets for local residents and schools each season, and runs acting classes for local children (Playground Players) and adults (Park Players). In 2016 it began a Reminiscence therapy programme for people affected by dementia and their carers. The theatre has a policy of transparency and open-book accounting for both in-house and incoming productions, in an effort to ensure that actors are properly paid.[29]


  1. ^ Cecilia Sundstrom, "Psychopaths, nudity and Maureen Lipman launch new Finsbury Park theatre", Hackney Gazette, 27 March 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  2. ^ Matthew Lloyd (2016). "Theatres in Finsbury Park, London: Park Theatre". - The Music Hall and Theatre History Website. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  3. ^ "About". ParkTheatre. 2010. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  4. ^ Marshall, Tom (29 October 2010), "Finsbury Park theatre's cue to open", Hornsey, Crouch End and Muswell Hill Journal, Archant Ltd., archived from the original on 4 November 2010
  5. ^ "Converting Spaces~Creating Theatres". Theatre's Trust.
  6. ^ a b Price, Mark James (26 August 2010). "Laurel Leaf House, 11-13 Clifton Terrace, Islington, London N4 3JP Application ref: P101570" (PDF). The Theatres Trust. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  7. ^ Loeb, Josh (9 July 2010), "Oasis of arts planned for Finsbury Park's 'cultural desert'", Islington Tribune
  8. ^ "Sir Ian McKellen and Rupert Everett visit Park Theatre as it moves closer to opening date". Islington Tribune.
  9. ^ Bond, Jez (2016-02-08). "Truly, Madly, Alan". Park Theatre Blog. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  10. ^ Spencer, Charles (2014-07-08). "Daytona, Haymarket Theatre Royal, review: 'deeply moving'". Retrieved 2017-01-27.
  11. ^ Charles Spencer (2013-10-11). "Adult Supervision, Park Theatre, review". Telegraph. Retrieved 2017-02-13.
  12. ^ Dominic Cavendish (2015-07-17). "The Gathered Leaves, Park Theatre, review: 'hugely impressive'". Telegraph. Retrieved 2017-02-13.
  13. ^ Allfree, Claire (2016-02-25). "The Patriotic Traitor - a gripping encounter between Petain and de Gaulle". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2017-02-13.
  14. ^ Billington, Michael (2015-04-06). "Dead Sheep review - extremely entertaining bellwether politics". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-02-13.
  15. ^ Mayo, Douglas (2016-05-07). "The Boys In The Band UK Tour". British Theatre. Retrieved 2017-02-13.
  16. ^ Gardner, Lyn (2016-05-05). "The Buskers Opera review: anti-capitalism in rhyming couplets". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-02-13.
  17. ^ Gardner, Lyn (2015-11-05). "Grounded review - Deafinitely Theatre's drone-pilot drama has double impact". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-02-13.
  18. ^ Amy Smith (2014-12-31). "Brainstorm at the Park Theatre". Camden Review. Retrieved 2017-02-13.
  19. ^ Rachel Halliburton (2015-05-20). "Hurling Rubble at the Moon & Hurling Rubble at the Sun". Time Out London. Retrieved 2017-02-13.
  20. ^ Aleks Sierz (2018-04-04). "Pressure, Park Theatre review - David Haig terrific in his own drama". The Arts Desk. Retrieved 2018-08-05.
  21. ^ Hemley, Matthew (2015-01-30). "Sonia Friedman, Young Vic and Southampton's Nuffield triumph at Stage Awards 2015". The Stage. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  22. ^ James Morris (2017-07-17). "Sir Ian McKellen's one-man Park Theatre show raises £250k". Islington Gazette. Retrieved 2017-08-01.
  23. ^ Walden, Celia (2017-06-30). "'I'm all in favour of death': Ian McKellen on Corbyn, the fight for gay rights and his one-man show". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2017-08-01.
  24. ^ Ailis Brennan (2018-03-28). "This play explores what would happen if Trump was impeached". Evening Standard. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
  25. ^ Maxwell, Dominic (2018-07-17). "Theatre review: End of the Pier at Park Theatre, N4". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2018-08-05.
  26. ^ Nicola Baird. "Melli Bond: Park Theatre's Script Accelerator 2016 opens". Islington Faces. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  27. ^ Natasha Tripney (2014-02-24). "Storm in a Teacup". The Stage. Retrieved 2017-02-13.
  28. ^ Gary Naylor (2016-03-17). "BWW Review: Happy to Help, Park Theatre, March 16 2016". BroadwayWorld.Com - UK Regional. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  29. ^ Gardner, Lyn (7 February 2012). "Should theatres open up their accounts?". The Guardian. London.

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