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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I can’t help but think this German comedy – by Roland Schimmelpfennig, presented by ATC and the Orange Tree – has been a bit spoilered by the accompanying press and publicity materials, which has all strongly built it up as a topical play about the resurgence...Drama Until Saturday February 11 2017
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 2017
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 2017
Kieran Hodgson: Maestro
Back in 2015, we were much taken with Kieran Hodgson's 'Lance', a beautifully written, knowing hour focusing on his teenage hero Lance Armstrong who helps the cycle-mad Yorkshire boy through tough times. It deservedly bagged him an Edinburgh Comedy Award...Stand-up Thursday March 23 2017 - Sunday May 7 2017
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