The Soho Theatre is a theatre and registered charity in the Soho district of the City of Westminster, in London, England. It produces and presents new works of theatre, together with comedy and cabaret, across three performance spaces.
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The theatre has established itself as a vital launchpad for new artists and offers commissions, attachments and residencies for both emerging and established writers. It has launched the careers of numerous screenwriters and comedians in theatre, film, TV and radio.
Soho Theatre CompanyEdit
The Soho Theatre Company was formed in 1969 by Verity Bargate and Fred Proud, and initially performed at a venue in Old Compton Street. Soon, the company moved to the Soho Poly, where it would remain for eighteen years. Sue Dunderdale was Artistic Director of the company for several years in the 1980s.
In 1990, the Soho Theatre Company entered a brief migrational period, where it visited the venues of the Royal Court, Riverside Studios and the ICA. The company was revitalised when it took up residence at the Cockpit Theatre of Marylebone from 1993-95. During this period they expanded their Writers' Development programme, and premiered the works of over 35 new writers.
Soho Theatre on Dean StreetEdit
In 2000, the theatre moved to its current home on Dean Street. The purpose-built venue houses the 165-seat Main House, the 90-seat Studio, and the 140-seat Cabaret Space. The ground and lower-ground floors are also occupied by the Soho Theatre Bar.
Its current Executive Director is Mark Godfrey and its Creative Director is David Luff. Following his 2018 appointment as Creative Director, Soho Theatre has undertaken a re-investment in commissioning and producing new plays, moving towards a producer-led playhouse model. Their creative team is a tight-knit group of associates including Head of Comedy Steve Lock, Associate Directors Lakesha Arie-Angelo and Adam Brace, Touring Producer Sarah Dodd and their newly appointed Literary Manager, Gillian Greer.
In 2014 the theatre was fined £20,000 for a health and safety incident in which a stage manager, Rachael Presdee, was paralysed in a fall through an unmarked balcony door on to the stage some three metres below. Compensation of £3.7m was also agreed with Miss Presdee.
The Verity Bargate AwardEdit
The Verity Bargate Award is Soho Theatre’s flagship new writing award with the winning play produced in a full production on their stages. For almost 50 years, Soho Theatre has championed new writing and since 1982, the Verity Bargate Award has uncovered the best new and emerging writers. It has launched the careers of some of Britain’s most established playwrights and screenwriters including Matt Charman (Bridge of Spies), Vicky Jones (Touch at Soho Theatre), Toby Whithouse (Doctor Who) and many, many more.
The 2020 award is judged by a panel of industry experts including former Soho writers Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Arinzé Kene and Laura Wade, screenwriter Russell T Davies, actress and playwright Lolita Chakrabarti and Character 7’s Stephen Garrett.
Soho Poly periodEdit
- Sue Townsend
- Hanif Kureishi
- Timberlake Wertenbaker
- Tony Marchant
- Pam Gems
- Karim Alrawi
- Barrie Keeffe
- Brian Clarke
- David Edgar
- Mary O'Malley
- Colin Spencer
Soho Theatre periodEdit
- "Soho Theatre | Arts Council". Arts Council England. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
- "Sue Dunderdale interview – Unfinished Histories". Retrieved 2020-07-05.
- "Theatre « Sue Dunderdale". www.suedunderdale.com. Retrieved 2020-07-05.
- "Past Productions at The Cockpit". Retrieved 15 March 2014.
- "Soho Theatre fined over fall that paralysed stage manager". BBC News. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
- Soho Theatre Official website