Menier Chocolate Factory, London
Looking like an old abandoned factory from the outside, the tiny theatre in Menier Chocolate Factory may remind you of your student theatre days, but the quality of productions is so high that they often go on to a West End theatre. Seeing a production here, you may very well have the smug satisfaction to say “I saw it first!” when it becomes a hit.
Nearest Tube Station:
Directions From Tube:
(10 mins) Head towards Borough High Street; cross the street and take Union Street. Turn right at O’Meara Street and the theatre will be at the end.
(Southwark St) RV1, 343, 381; (Southwark Bridge Rd) 344; (Borough High St) 21, 35, 40, 133
Night Bus Numbers:
(Southwark St) 381, N343; (Southwark Bridge Rd) 344; (Borough High St) N21, N35, N133
Nearest Rail Station:
Nearest Car Park:
Union Car Park on Southwark Street (1min)
Menier Chocolate Factory
51 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1RU
The Menier Chocolate Factory certainly sounds delicious, but disappointingly there are no cascading chocolate waterfalls to be found inside. In fact, no chocolate has been made here since the 1980s, when the building was abandoned by the Menier Chocolate Company who’d been brewing their sweet treats from 1870 onwards at the site.
So how did this yummy factory space end up as a theatre? Well, it was bought up in the early 1990s by a property development company and reimagined as an arts complex on the South Bank, where as well as a theatre, you can find a bar, a restaurant and a rehearsal space all in one place. From its opening in 2004, its intimate setting for 150 people has hosted a wealthy variety of performances, from traditional plays and musicals (both Sunday in the Park with George and Little Shop of Horrors came here before their West End transfers) to stand-up comics and one-person shows.
In its short lifetime it’s already scooped up a selection of awards recognising it as an up-and-coming space and one of the best new venues in town – proving that size doesn’t matter after all!
The Menier Chocolate Factory has been voted Most Welcoming Theatre and for providing the Best Theatre Foodie Experience by the Off West End awards.
The Menier Chocolate Company was a popular French chocolate manufacturer in the 19th century whose production suffered during the wars of the 20th century, and ended up being acquired by Nestle.
Having opened in 1870 as a chocolate factory, the building has kept up much of its 19th century charm.