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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If charity starts at home, its flow is in short supply in this revival of British writer Somerset Maugham’s final play, written in 1933. When hairdresser Sheppey strikes it lucky betting on the races and decides to give the money away to the less fortunate,...Drama Until Saturday January 7 2017Read more
Classical concerts from long-running chamber music ensemble.Classical and opera Sunday December 11 2016 - Sunday January 15 2017Read 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
Josie Long: Something Better
Josie Long has spent years shrugging off her reputation as the queen of quirk with a series of passionate, angry but ultimately optimistic political shows. It’s done her good, too – two of them received Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award nominations. 2014...Stand-up Sunday February 5 2017 - Monday March 20 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
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