Celebrating London theatres 3: the ‘C’s

Welcome to the next installment of our celebration of London theatre spaces during this extended period of closure. Today is the turn of those beginning with “C”.

Cadogan Hall

From 1906-1996 the building was run as a New Christian Science Church, but after a period of disuse, the Cadogan Estate purchased the Hall in 2000 and opened it as a performance venue in 2004.

As a classical concert hall it is known for chamber and small scale orchestral pieces, and has also hosted one-off concert versions of musical shows and appearances from a range of musicians and singers.

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Calder’s Bookshop Theatre

The Calder’s Bookshop Theatre, on the opposite site of The Cut to the Young Vic, was founded in 2011 by a group of friends (including Luis Gayol and Sergio Amigo) with an interest in theatre and left-wing politics, who wished to put on their own productions. The bookshop specialises in philosophy, politics and theatre, while the performance space hosts a regular cinema club on Tuesdays.

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The Cambridge, a West End theatre which is the current home of Matilda: the Musical, was built in 1929-20 for theatre producer Bertie Mayer. It sits in Seven Dials and is an unusual tringular shape on the corner of Earlham Street.

Grade II listed, it is currently owned by LW Theatres and its style of architecture is based on German expressionism.

Camden People’s

The Camden People’s Theatre (CPT) opened in 1994 and is based a short walk from Euston Square. It started the Sprint Festival (“a celebration of new and adventurous theatre”) in 1997, and has a long history of supporting fledgling theatre companies through its TONIC and Starting Blocks programmes and other schemes.

Since 2008 the CPT has been one of the key partners in the annual Camden Fringe festival. Other festivals specific to the venue include Beyond The Joke (stand-up) and Calm Down, Dear (feminism). In 2016 it initiated a new network of artist-supporting venues, STAMP. Its current executive director is Kaya Stanley-Money.

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Canada Water

Opening in 2011, the Canada Water Theatre is programmed by the Albany (Deptford) in partnership with Southwark Council). It is situated directly above Canada Water station on the ground floor of Canada Water library, and seats 150. Shows include new work, comedy, contemporary theatre, dance and music.

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Canal Cafe

The Canal Cafe Theatre, “perched on the edge of the Regent’s Park canal since the 70s” is the home of the world’s longest running live comedy show, NewsRevue. It hosts comedy, cabaret and theatre and is set up to seat audiences at cabaret style tables. The current artistic director is Emma Taylor and the programmer and general manager is Shannon Steele.

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Cecil Sharp House

The Cecil Sharp House is the home of the English Folk Dance and Song Society and is based on Regent’s Park Road. The venue was dedicated to the memory of folk-song collector Cecil Sharp following his death in 1924.

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The Cervantes Theatre (named after celebrated writer Miguel de Cervantes), on Union Street in Southwark, is London’s first venue dedicated to showing Spanish and Latin American plays, which are performed in both Spanish and English. It opened in November 2016 and is the creation of the Spanish Theatre Company (STC). The artistic director and founder is Jorge de Juan.

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Charing Cross

Since 1864, there has been a theatre under Charing Cross Station. Previously known as Gattis-in-the-Arches, The Players Theatre and the New Players Theatre, the theatre began operating under its current name in 2011. Late night music takes place in the Players Bar, and music hall performances continue on most Sundays. The current artistic director is Thom Southerland.

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The Chelsea is a studio theatre on the Kings Road which opened in 1977. It recently reopened in January 2020 after a multi-million pound refurbishment and plans to launch a new artistic policy from the autumn. The theatre complex comprises a 135 seat auditorium, meeting rooms and studio spaces, and a cafe and bar.

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Chickenshed Theatre is located in Southgate (near Cockfosters and Oakwood stations). It has been run as an “inclusive theatre company” since 1974, when it was founded by Jo Collins and Mary Ward.

The theatre itself opened in 1994, funded by Lord and Lady Rayne. Since 1997 the company has moved into the field of education offering first BTEC and foundation degrees, then full BA degree courses. It now has an additional base in Kensington and Chelsea.

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Chiswick Playhouse

The Chiswick Playhouse, based at the Tabard pub in Turnham Green, opened in 1985 and changed its name from that of the pub in 2019.

From 2007 the Chiswick Playhouse started to produce shows in-house, and has enjoyed a couple of West End transfers. It is also a popular tryout house for stand-up comedy.

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Opened in 1977 and located in Bromley, the Churchill is integrated into the local central library complex. Previously an ATG house, it is now operated by HQ Theatres and Hospitality and welcomes large-scale touring productions as well as hosting its own shows and a comedy club.

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The Cockpit Theatre in Marylebone was built in 1969-70 by the Inner London Education Authority, and was London”s first purpose-built theatre in the round since the Great Fire.

It was originally known as the Gateforth Street Youth Arts Centre, but quickly became known as the Cockpit (inspired by a 17th century theatre of the same name so called for presenting cockfighting). Since 1990 it has been owned and operated by the City of Westminster College.

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Colour House

The Colour House opened as a theatre in summer 1995 and is based in the riverside setting of Merton Abbey Mills. It showcases theatre, events, comedy and music gigs but is best known for musical fairytale shows aimed at children performed each weekend.

The Colour House was founded by Peter Wallder and its current artistic director is Charlie Shakespeare.

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The Compass is a 165-seat theatre in Ickenham owned by the London Borough of Hillingdon. Opened in 1968, the theatre was the home of theatre company Tall Stories until 2009 and is currently home to film company Talking Pictures, amongst others.

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Conway Hall

Conway Hall is based in the headquarters of the Ethical Society and dates back to 1929. It is based in Old Red Lion Square in Holborn and is a “renowned hub for free speech and independent thought”.

Hosting a variety of lectures, performances and community events, Conway Hall operates as an independent charity.

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The Coronet in Notting Hill opened as a theatre in 2010 under the name of the Print Room (at that time based in a converted warehouse in Westbourne Grove).

From 2014 the Print Room moved into the former Coronet Cinema, and rebranded as the Coronet Theatre in 2019. A specialism of the theatre is staging lesser-known works by classic writers. The current CEO and artistic director is Anda Winters.

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The Courtyard in Hoxton is housed in a former public library building which is Grade II listed. It has both a main house and a studio and the London Horror Festival was first held there in 2011.

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Crazy Coqs

Crazy Coqs is a cabaret venue based within the Brasserie Zedel in Piccadilly Circus. The Brasserie was originally part of the Regent Palace Hotel, and Crazy Coqs itself opened in 1934 as the Chez Cup Bar.


A 588-seater West End theatre in Piccadilly Circus, the Criterion dates from 1874 and is Grade II* listed. It is currently the home of Mischief Theatre’s A Comedy About A Bank Robbery. The theatre is run by the Criterion Theatre Trust (set up by Robert Bourne and Sally Greene in the 1980s).

Cutty Sark

This theatre is a unique performing space, located in the ship’s lower hold. It is owned and operated by Royal Museums Greenwich and showcases music, comedy and theatre.

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Join me tomorrow to celebrate London theatres beginning with ‘D’!