South London's erratic temple of the avant-garde
The forward-thinking Battersea Arts Centre, which inhabits the old Battersea Town Hall, has become synonymous with experimental theatre. Under long-term artistic director David Jubb it's styled itself as home of 'scratch' (work-in-progress) performance, but frequently breaks cover with mini-festivals of finished work and the occasional huge, mad project – notably Punchdrunk's immersive 'Masque of the Red Death', which totally took over the entire theatre for a year. It also fosters strong links with the local community – not least as a venue to get married in – and is popular with comedians as a venue for trialling new work.
It has a constantly festival air, with cheap tickets and a convivial bar that offers a wide selection of beers and decent tapas.
Its occasionally turbulent history has been marked by at least one theatre of closure due to loss of funding, and a dramatic fire in March 2015 that closed large portions of the building.
To the outside eye, however, BAC remains indestructible, with fire damage just another phase in a building that's in constant flux and development.
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Young people's poet laureate Caleb Femi has teamed up with other up-and-coming artists to create this solo show for the BAC, which mixes spoken word, music by Lex Amor, and illustrations from Olivia Twist. 'Goldfish Bowl' explores how at 18 years old,...Drama Wednesday May 30 2018 - Saturday June 16 2018
As Qatar builds huge stadiums for the 2022 FIFA world cup, there's been a slow simmer of dissent at the country's treatment of migrant labourers. Ahilan Ratnamohan, a Sri Lankan-Australian footballer-artist, has built this show around interviews with...Drama Thursday June 21 2018 - Saturday June 23 2018
New International Voices
West African artists Poetra Asantewa (a performance poet) and Kwame Boafo (a performance and movement artist) are in residency at BAC as part of LIFT Festival 2018, culminating in a pay what you can performance of new work.Drama Friday June 22 2018 - Saturday June 23 2018
Gecko Theatre's original 2015 run of 'Missing' was cut short by a blaze that seriously damaged Battersea Arts Centre, destroying its main performance space, Grand Hall. So it's pretty wonderful to see that this surreal dance theatre show is getting to...Experimental Thursday September 6 2018 - Saturday September 15 2018
Exiled from his native Egypt, Adam is looking for somewhere that feels like home. This National Theatre of Scotland production, transferring to BAC after opening at the 2017 Edinburgh Festival, explores gender identity and borders by staging the true story...Experimental Tuesday September 18 2018 - Saturday September 29 2018
I'm a Phoenix, Bitch
Bryony Kimmings is back! After a relatively low-profile spell, the mouthy, hilarious, and inventive performance artist is making a new solo show at Battersea Arts Centre. She's probably best known for 'A Pacifist's Guide to the War on Cancer', a huge,...Experimental Wednesday October 3 2018 - Saturday October 20 2018
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I keep remembering the Mask of the Red Death. Can't get it out of my head. It's got to THE venue in London capable of handling such an immersive event. I wish to god they'd do it again!
Beautiful building ,refurbished to high standard,great theatre,comedy and art and a great bar with lovely food!
Rising from the ashes.....BAC is a great community resource. Interesting plays, talks, good bar/food and discounts if you become a member which is only £24 a year and helps support them.
Battersea Arts Centre is a brilliant theatre that involves young people in creative and fun yet demanding productions. It is doing wonderful work, getting people involved and for people to go and see.