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. It's hard to pin down in any meaningful way, but you're likely to find the odd Ibsen or other 'serious drama' revival, new plays from fresh voices, and plenty of work with a political, international outlook. Its biggest constant is Grimeborn, an irreverent and influential festival of new opera writing that takes place in the summer. And there's also a real focus on community work, with occasional stagings of Turkish language plays sitting alongside dramas by the Arcola's Queer Collective.
Tickets are cheap as chips and comparable to the fringe. The ramshackle bar is a cosy place to sink a pint before or after the show; it serves tea and coffee during the day, and generally fills up with artsy types on a Friday or Saturday night. The Arcola also has an admirable commitment to becoming the greenest theatre in the UK, with a goal of becoming completely carbon neutral that's demonstrated in its rather advanced-looking toilets.
|Venue name:||Arcola Theatre|
24 Ashwin St
|Transport:||Dalston Kingsland or Dalston Junction Overground|
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‘The Glass Menagerie’ review
Femi Elufowoju Jr is currently directing two plays at the Arcola Theatre. In the downstairs studio is ‘Hoard’ by Bim Adewunmi and in the upstairs main space is this, a new staging of Tennessee Williams’s classic ‘The Glass Menagerie’. Both productions...Drama Until Saturday July 13 2019
After well-received political satire 'Diary of a Madman', playwright Al Smith is back with 'Radio', set in the age of NASA's race to get to the moon. It follows Charlie Fairbanks, whose obsession with space leads him to discover more and more about America's...Drama Saturday June 22 2019 - Saturday July 13 2019
Average User Rating
4.9 / 5
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This place is innovative, socially conscious, sustainable and with the best atmosphere! Brilliant shows, brilliant team, and a brilliant bar to dissect in afterwards.
Really appreciate having a local theatre with affordably priced tickets and an good quality eclectic choice of productions.
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.
Consistently interesting and entertaining shows programmed by a great team of people. Proud to have this as my local theatre!
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!
This theatre is producing the best and most exciting work in London. Make the (20 min) trek, it's so worth it.
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.
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!
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