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Arts Theatre

Theatre, Musicals Covent Garden
4 out of 5 stars
(4user reviews)
Arts Theatre_Susie Rea.jpg
© Susie Rea

This intimate venue is a place to enjoy the fringier side of the West End

Yup, technically the Arts Theatre is a West End venue, but shows at this smaller, scruffier venue don't have the mega production values of their glitzier theatrical neighbours. Instead of being designed to house commercial work, it started as a 'Theatre Club' in 1927. This meant that its members-only productions bypassed the beady eye of the Lord Chamberlain, who censored all mainstream British theatres at the time, taking a dim view of sex, violence, and slights on the monarchy.

This history lives on in the venue's late 20th century record for championing left-field, alternative productions. 'Waiting For Godot', Tom Stoppard's satirical double-bill 'Dirty Linen and New-Found-Land' and 'The Vagina Monologues' all had their London premieres here. But it's struggled to find similar success in recent years, often hosting musicals that aren’t really up to ‘proper’ West End standards. It's also escaped the wrecking ball several times, most recently when it was threatened with closure in 2006, and there are regular whispers that some kindly mega-producer is planning to buy the place out and give it a good sprucing up.

For now, though, the Arts Theatre is a refreshingly unpretentious and budget-friendly place to see a musical or a comedy show. Its popular cafe bar serves theatre fans who spill out onto the busy Covent Garden streets beyond. The auditorium seats 350 punters over two tiers. And since 2014, a second 60-seater space known as 'Above the Arts' acts as a studio theatre, home to cabaret and short runs by stand up comedians. 


Venue name: Arts Theatre
Address: 6-7
Great Newport Street
Covent Garden
Transport: Tube: Leicester Square
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Pick a date

  • Musicals Until Sunday July 5 2020

Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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

Saw I Loved Lucy last night and it is fantastic! I felt, having watched I love Lucy shows when they were originally broadcast, that I now know a lot more about her and loved that intimacy. Fabulous "reality" show. Go and see it, but watch a bit of I love Lucy on You tube beforehand, just to get totally in the mood. 


Gorgeous venue, right outside Leicester Square station! Cosy and welcoming feel, with very friendly staff. As expected for a theatre, drinks are a little pricey - £8 for a large white wine. But the atmosphere and the small, intimate stage definitely make up for it!


The Arts Theatre is a small and cosy place located in between Leceister square and Covent garden. 

Very different from the "big boys" we know in the area but despite its size this theatre has some great plays!!

I recently saw the Wipers Times there and absolutely loved it. 

We were supposed to be on the restricted view seats but I have been able to enjoy the play without missing half of it! 

I haven't tried the cakes mentioned in the previous comment but the ice creams are great!!! ;)


An intimated theatre venue where you'll be able to get close to the action. It reminded me slightly of a school theatre but a great place to see something slightly different. Also check out the cafe which serves delicious cakes.

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