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Royal Court Theatre

  • Theatre
  • Sloane Square
  • Recommended
Royal Court Theatre
© Helen Maybanks

Time Out Says

London's edgy new writing powerhouse

The Royal Court will reopen November 12 with ‘Living Newspaper’.

London's premiere new writing theatre, the Royal Court made its name in the 1950s when it was synonymous with kitchen sink dramas and the Angry Young Men, and has scarcely looked back (in anger) since.

The commercially successful reign of Dominic Cooke was famously marked by his stated mission to acknowledge the nature of the Sloane Square theatre's audience and 'explore what it means to be middle class'. The quote probably came back to haunt him, coming to define a reign that was marked by lots of new writing from BAME playwrights, plus such towering West End transfer successes as 'Enron' and the peerless 'Jerusalem'.

Current Royal Court artistic director Vicky Featherstone has taken the theatre down a much more experimental route that occasionally baffles but frequently thrills, while still managing to score the odd transfer smash via older associates of the theatre: Jez Butterworth’s ‘The Ferryman’ was a monster of a hit. She has also taken something of a leadership role in the London theatre community in the #MeToo era, being the driving force behind a new code of behavious designed to challenge abuse of power within the theatre community.

There are two venues, the tiny Upstairs and large Downstairs, plus a welcoming bar kitchen that's a fabulous place to visit for a gander at the cream of London's playwrights and creatives, who inexorably drift through throughout the day.


Sloane Square
Tube: Sloane Sq
Opening hours:
Check website for tour times and show times
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What's On

The Glow

  • Experimental

Alistair McDowall hit upon a rich, dark seam of magical realism (or surrealism) with his last two plays, the audacious, Lovecraftian ‘Pomona’ and the brain-melting sci-fi ‘X’. The follow-up to ‘The Glow’ – which sees him reunite with ‘X’ director Vicky Featherstone – sounds like it will continue down that path: that is to say, it’ll be completely unpredictable. ‘The Glow’ is set in 1863, and follows a young woman with no memory who is plucked from an asylum to serve as the assistant to a spiritualist medium, a course of action which unlocks both her past and new powers. Fisayo Akinade, Rakie Ayola, Tadhg Murphy and Ria Zmitrowicz star.

Purple Snowflakes and Titty Wanks

  • Drama

This outlandishly named coming-of-age story is Dublin-born Sarah Hanly's playwriting debut. 'Purple Snowflakes and Titty Wanks' follows schoolgirl Sinéad, who's juggling sexual discovery and getting good grades with hiding a huge secret. After being hit by Covid delays – though it managed to open in Dublin’s Abby Theatre in 2021 – it has its UK premiere at the Royal Court Upstairs.

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