Arts Theatre, London
An ‘off-West-End’ venue located in the West End near Leicester Square Station, the box-like Arts Theatre maximises seating on three sides and two levels, making one of the smallest London theatres feel just as grand as some of the bigger ones.
Nearest Tube Station:
Directions From Tube:
(2mins) Take Cranbourn Street away from Leicester Square up to Great Newport Street on your left, where you can see the theatre.
(Charing Cross Road) 24, 29, 176; (Strand) 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 23, 87, 91, 139
Night Bus Numbers:
(Charing Cross Road) 24, 176, N5, N20, N29, N41, N279; (Strand) 6, 23, 139, N9, N15, N11, N13, N21, N26, N44, N47, N87, N89, N91, N155, N343, N551
Nearest Rail Station:
Nearest Car Park:
Chinatown (3 mins)
6-7 Great Newport Street, London, WC2H 7JB
Adapted from an old building, the Arts Theatre opened initially as a private members-only club in 1927 to avoid theatre censorship. Taking full advantage of this loophole, it produced controversial (and sometimes banned) plays; ironically, quite a few productions in its later history went on to have longer runs in bigger West End theatres once the censorship law was dropped.
After a few quiet years, it went through a renaissance in the 1940s under new management, with over a hundred plays put on in a decade, becoming affectionately known as a ‘pocket National Theatre’. Since then, two of its most successful productions have been fairly well known plays – the first being the school curriculum favourite Waiting for Godot, lasting over 3 years; the second was a Tom Stoppard double-header (that is, two plays back to back) running for 4 years in total.
For much of the second half of the 20th century, the Arts Theatre doubled as a children’s theatre venue during the day with regular plays put on in the evening. Taken over in 2000 by a new set of producers, it was rebranded as a West End theatre and continues to put on small-scale productions in a cosy atmosphere to this day. It also runs a ‘Face to Face’ series, featuring one-off evenings with famous faces.
The Arts Theatre opened as a venue for more controversial material in 1927, which may explain its tiny size.
The Arts staged the first British production of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot.
It was briefly known as the ‘New Arts’ Theatre from 1962 to 1967.
JJ Goodman, who won the TV reality show ‘The Restaurant’, currently owns the Arts Theatre.
Make the most of your trip on the town with a delicious meal before the show. Check out our top recommendations below. All these restaurants are just a stone’s throw away from your theatre. So you can relax before enjoying a slice of world class entertainment. Simply add your theatre tickets to your basket and select the restaurant of your choice.