Arcola Theatre

Theatre, Private theatres Kingsland
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(15user reviews)
107 Love It
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Arcola Theatre
© Lidia Crisafulli

East London's new writing stronghold is a bit erratic but much appreciated

Situated slap bang in the middle of east London's vibrant Turkish community in Dalston, the Arcola Theatre was here before the hipsters and – despite one enforced venue change, to its present former paint factory site – remains a bastion of interesting work in theatre-light east London.

The quality of the programme tends to wax and wane, and you suspect gifted founder artistic director Mehmet Ergen could make a bigger deal out of it if he didn't have various other projects on the boil. Still, the erratic programme is enjoyably unpredictable and occasionally brilliant, hard to pin down in any meaningful may, but revolving around fresh voices and politicised new work. It biggest constant is Grimeborn, an irreverent and influential festival of new opera writing that takes place in the summer.

Tickets are cheap as chips and comparable to the fringe, the ramshackle bar has some lovely old sofas to sink into before or after a show, and there is an admiral commitment to becoming the greenest theatre in the UK, with a goal of becoming completely carbon neutral.


Venue name: Arcola Theatre
Address: 24 Ashwin St
E8 3DL
Transport: Dalston Kingsland or Dalston Junction Overground
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Pick a date

  • Drama Until Saturday June 24 2017
  • Drama Until Saturday June 10 2017
  • Drama Until Saturday May 27 2017
  • Fringe Wednesday June 14 2017 - Saturday July 15 2017

Average User Rating

4.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:12
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
1 person listening

This is where I go when I want something exciting, creative, well thought, raw and different on stage in London. The intimate space of both theatre allow for more audience involvement and used to the full effect by most of the productions.

Arcola also has a very strong community feeling and fostering. For the whole month of January 2017, the  award winning Creative Management Department is staging different productions by different companies to develop young (youth) talents, the elder community, unheard voices and using theatre to champion and express new voices from those who are affected by issues like sexual abuse, men's mental health, LBGT community, racism.

I saw Under Cover on week 1 which give a very real, raw and restrained portrayal of men's mental health. There were different aspects of the issues what were conveyed succinctly and without any sensationalisation. It takes you to a journey of what it's like to have a safe place that is warm and safe like your bed which later can become the trap that doesn't allow you to leave just because the world outside can be so cruel. The moment of genius was the cast danced to Beyonce and then fell into a deep darkness and the safe coccoon that was the bed again.

The staff in Arcola are knowledgeable, smart, creative and warm.  And the bar is great for pre drinks and post theatre mingling.

And Friday night is a great place for dancing!

Anna W

The Arcola is my go to place for excitingly staged new writing in London. From start to finish the visiting experience is unique and friendly, with a fantastically friendly staff and a brilliant season year after year.

Pop in on the day and book your tickets at the box office- and make sure to buy the script of the show you will see as this usually acts as the program for the performance! It's well worth it- you never know which show will be a roaring success!

Both studios lend themselves to innovative and intelligent design, which adds to the viewing experience no end.

The intimacy of the bar allows for some seriously high quality mingling after the show where you will probably meet the cast and creatives, while enjoying their delightful wine and amazing burgers (make sure you have one- they are delicious!)

Bec M

This place is innovative, socially conscious, sustainable and with the best atmosphere! Brilliant shows, brilliant team, and a brilliant bar to dissect in afterwards.

Lydia D

Really appreciate having a local theatre with affordably priced tickets and an good quality eclectic choice of productions.

Alissa L

Lots of talent. Saw Swansong the other week and was impressed with brilliant acting and production. Both comedic timing, music and lighting were spot on. Very impressive. Will be going back.

Dan A

Consistently interesting and entertaining shows programmed by a great team of people. Proud to have this as my local theatre!

Rubyyy J

More than an innovative and unique theatre space but also a mirror for the changing face of Hackney and London. One of the most diverse and innovative theatre spaces I've ever experienced!

Bec M

This theatre is producing the best and most exciting work in London. Make the (20 min) trek, it's so worth it.

Nick C

Excellent theatre that produces and hosts exciting and important plays in an interesting green venue. Good bar too. The sort of thing that's great about Dalston. 


A good off West End theatre with a great bar and affordable tickets.  Home of Grimeborn among other interesting shows.

Kamile Jucyte

I find this website extremely helpful. I am moving to London in April and have now decided to settle in Dalston, thanks to your help!