pop up theatres get closed very quickly if not licenced!

Many areas are having pop up theatre venues in old shops, function rooms of pubs, in makeshift structures or venues are being converted into theatres.  Any building in England can only operate if they have obtained full planning permission to be used as a theatre and are licenced by the local authority as such. (This can take from a minimum of 8 weeks to a few years to get).   Many pubs, café’s, restaurants assume that as they have a drinks licence and an entertainment licence, they can operate and advertise themselves as a theatre,  unfortunately this isn’t the case. In the last two years, our local council has shut down two of these venues in the New Cross area alone and because of the strict regulations with regard to theatres, they are very pro- active in getting them shut down as they have never undergone any fire risk or don’t have the required exits or in some cases, don’t even have a licence.  They usually act after sending a warning letter to the venue and actually turn up once the offence has been committed, i.e on the opening night and paying members of the public are in the venue. It is then when they shut it down.  It will be you who then has to stand there and return everyone’s money for the ticket! And you who has to try and get your hire fee back from the promoter.  If you did a split door, also it is you who will be taken to court if the correct licence isn’t in place as you would be regarded as the promoter of the event.  The fine for operating without a licence is £10,000.

We see the tail end of this problem when theatre companies have hired such a venue only to see it closed by the council or in the case of some pop up theatres not get a temp event notice in time and they come to us to ask if we have space for their production, often we don’t,  as it is very short notice and so the production company has lost everything.

Also many theatre listing sites will only list shows at established theatres and so often promotion becomes a problem for pop up theatre productions.

Don’t rely on the pub landlord, shop owner or event promoter to confirm they have the required planning permission and Licence.   Contact your local planning department who will tell you if the venue is allowed to operate as a theatre or not.  Just ask the planning officer if such and such a space has planning consent to be used as a theatre. If not, walk away.

The Society of Independent Theatres has a list of theatres which are established and will have the correct documentation to operate as theatres. They have 40 theatre members and growing, so please before you look at a space in a community centre, a function room of a pub or in a large  makeshift tent,  ask yourself, will my production have the credibility by staging it here and will this venue be open as a theatre on day two of my production.  For piece of mind, use one of the member theatres of the Society of Independent Theatres. 


Calling all new writers, sketch groups, comics, Film clubs, dancers - We have slots during our 


from only £20 to showcase your work

Your chance to get your work seen

Click here for more information


We have a number of slots in 2018/19 for theatre companies which are going from only £110 per night or from £495 per week for public performances of your theatre production. We will also consider splits  for certain productions. We also do special one night hires at £60 for new writing or new theatre companies (with restrictions)

Call 0208 694 1888 to find out more

Rehearsal space hire rates

10am - 4pm (£45 per day) £35 per day for theatre companies who are doing productions with us

The above rates are for rehearsals or auditions - any filming (not connected with an audition) or performance or public meeting / workshops is charged at £100 per day.

We will not hire the venue for religious services or prayer meetings as we are not licenced for such activity. 

(No suitable for bands or live music rehearsal)

DID YOU KNOW - The average London Fringe theatre sells on average only 18 seats per performance during the week and usually only sells out shows around the weekend *.

If you truely think your production will sell 60 - 80 seats a night for a two/ three week run, Then getting a venue that will accomadate this for £1200 to £3000 a week to hire is then justified in London. Problem is if it doesn't you have lost money.

Are you paying for seats that you will never use?

Many small scale theatre companies spend most of their budget on hiring a theatre for their production with the average cost at present being about £1200 plus per week for a 50/80 seat fringe theatre in and around London. (cheapest we found was £700 and dearest £3200) 

We are a 37 to 50 seat theatre, small enough to keep costs down yet big enough to cater for your production needs.  In fact, using the average of 18 seats sold per night per London fringe theatre, we actually look very full.  Lots of our productions have full sell out runs with the correct marketing.

We are also a dedicated theatre venue, so there will be no noise coming from a public bar above or below the actual space which is a problem with some fringe theatre venues.   Our bar is only for the use of our theatre goers and shuts during the actual performance.   You are also not competing with televised football matches / quiz nights or people from the bar area shouting and making noise.  Also because of the position of the performance space in the venue, there is little outside noise.

We increase our capicity to 50 if we use our small stand up comedy stage instead for the performance and not the main floor area.  This is perfect for 1 person shows etc.  Our main space has an acting area big enough for most fringe theatre needs.

Our weekly hire rates start from £495 to £795 per week with most companies ending up paying only £495 per week and that makes us London's cheapest fringe theatre hire. We also will consider a split for certain productions.

We are located in zone 2 (100 yards from New Cross BR) and  we are 5 mins from the DLR and on seven major bus routes and have easy free street parking every evening around our venue.  We are in a high density populated area with an excellent demographic and 40 yards from Goldsmiths University and many exciting housing developments aimed at professionals. We are 7 mins by train from London Bridge (1 stop) and the new London Overground means that places like Dalston in North London are 24 mins away!  

We have:

A well stocked bar and a flexible performance space.

Enclosed sound and light operators box with

Sound - Denon CD player and midi input  with two 100w speakers and mixer. sep guitar amp and two mics and mic stands both shaft and boom. Radio mic UHF.

Lights 7 x LED Par 64, police light, laser light, 500w worker, DMX controller and one LED tri colour flood and computer operated.

Projector - 72 inch automatic electric screen with Profin digi projector with DVD and computer input.

We also offer full box office facilities where your audience can pre book tickets via debit and credit cards if required.

Marketing - We undertake all listings for 'Time Out' PA Listing, local papers, Ents 24 and Gumtree websites and 'The Stage' and Remote Goat. plus most of the London theatre listing websites. We also list productions on numerous other websites and produce an events programme which you may wish to be included in which goes to 5000 local poperties, local pubs and council buildings and Goldsmiths University plus handed out at New Cross and Deptford British Rail stations. The cost of inclusion is only £10.

You can also hire the space for rehersals at £45* per day midweek *(NO PUBLIC PERFORMANCES)

*information souced from London Lite newspaper artical Sept 'Is Fringe Dead' 2009