While the Menier Chocolate Factory regales crowds with West End-ready musicals, the space below it houses work of a very different flavour. The Bunker Theatre has parked itself in a converted car park, which has bequeathed it with an unusual ramped entrance. Inside, its custom-designed theatre space features an 110-capacity auditorium marked out by four concrete pillars. Its thrust configuration means that audiences sit on three sides of the action for shows that often have an experimental flavour, and drawn on a diverse pool of up-and-coming playwrights.
Incoming artistic director Chris Sonnex has come from a job at new writing stronghold the Royal Court, and has injected some oomph into the theatre's programming. He's presided over an all-female season, and launched new initiatives like the venue's free Writer's Snug. The Bunker Theatre also hosts periodic new writing festivals and play readings, as well as providing a hub for theatremakers and theatregoers alike at its busy craft beer bar.