Formerly London's chintziest theatre, the Orange Tree is now one of its hippest
Starting life as a lunchtime pub venue in Richmond in 1971, the Orange Tree Theatre graduated to a bigger, 170-seat space across the road in the early ’90s, with a permanently in-the-round set up. Founder Sam Waters, who ran the theatre for 42 years, deserves an enormous amount of credit, and in its day the theatre gave a leg-up to everyone from Martin Crimp to Sean Holmes.
However, the later days of Waters's reign saw the Orange Tree become rather moribund, with a programme based upon revivals of obscure period dramas that played well with the loyal, elderly audience but seriously lacked diversity, and probably played a large amount in the Arts Council scrapping all funding to the theatre.
This turned out to be a mistake that will surely be reversed, as his successor Paul Miller has completely turned the theatre around, with a programme that still makes the odd nod to the period works of the past, but combines it with a formidable commitment to new writing and reaching out to younger and more diverse audiences. Alistair McDowell's mad dystopian thriller 'Pomona' scored acres of acclaim and tranferred to the National Theatre, sealing the theatre's resurrection.
In 2016 the Arts Council awarded the Orange Tree £75,000 in funding.
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Kettle kettle blue. Blue kettle. Blue. Ket. Kettle. Blue blue. Kettle. Kettle. Ket. Blue. If I were to be a real arse I could write this whole review in the style of ‘Blue Kettle’, one of the two short plays making up Caryl Churchill’s rarely-seen double...Drama Until Saturday November 19 2016Read more
Flute Theatre: The Tempest
Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' gets an interactive reimagining aimed at children with autism, and their families. Multi-sensory games and interactive performance unfold on a painted map of Prospero's island welcome children into this classic story.Shakespeare Tuesday October 25 2016 - Friday November 4 2016Read more
Classical concerts from long-running chamber music ensemble.Classical and opera Sunday November 6 2016 - Sunday January 15 2017Read more
Lead vocalist Peter Christie, guitarist David Barlow and percussionist Alan Maryon Davis perform humorous songs, laden with self-parody, which have delighted listeners of BBC radio for years.Musical Sunday November 13 2016Read more
Orange Tree boss Paul Miller makes a speciality of reviving lost classics. His latest target is Somerset Maugham's last play, a comedy about a hairdresser whose life is thrown into turmoil after he wins the lottery. Everyone in his family wants a piece...Drama Thursday November 24 2016 - Saturday January 7 2017Read more
Ida Barr In Artificial Hip Hop
The artist, played by Olivier Award-winner Christopher Green, mixes old time musical hall with modern hip hop and R&B, mashing up Rhianna with Dan Leno and Marie Lloyd with Eminem, culminating in a rendition of Jerusalem mashed up with Nicki Minaj.Musical Sunday December 4 2016Read more
The Orange Tree's cosy-sounding Christmas show is the family-friendly story of a girl with a talent for knitting. Elinor Cook adapts Mac Barnett's tale of a girl who escapes her grey town by covering it in bright multicoloured knitwear, after she discovers...Drama Friday December 16 2016 - Saturday January 7 2017Read more
Shrug off the last of the Christmassy social awkwardness with this UK premiere of Roland Schimmelpfennig's family comedy. Staged by the Actors Touring Company, it's a bittersweet story of a couple who are reluctantly hosting a parent for the holidays...Drama Thursday January 12 2017 - Saturday February 11 2017Read more
This stripped-down 90 minute production of Shakespeare's dark comedy 'Twelfth Night' is aimed at secondary school students. Class politics, broken egoes, and tense encounters make it a fizzing first encounter with the bard's story.Shakespeare Saturday March 18 2017 - Saturday March 25 2017Read more