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New pub theatre planned for Islington

Hope and Anchor. Credit: Google Hope and Anchor. Credit: Google

Saturday, October 12, 2013
8:16 AM

Islington will soon be able to boast having London’s oldest and newest pub theatres thanks to the creative team behind a celebrated venue.

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For more than four decades the King’s Head Theatre in Upper Street has entertained culture junkies but now there are plans to launch a new fringe theatre just a short walk up the road above the Hope and Anchor pub.

The Hope Theatre is due to open in November and promises to perform a series of world premiere plays, musicals and operas.

Adam Spreadbury-Maher, the brains behind the plan, has also pledged the new fringe theatre will pay all staff at least minimum wage.

This will be achieved through the venue not charging production companies rent and instead asking them to use the money to pay actors and other staff members.

Mr Spreadbury-Maher said: “The future of fringe theatre is in our hands, and the King’s Head has decided to try an experiment whereby we can produce new writing in an environment where companies aren’t obligated to a weekly rent to the venue.

“Instead they are given an opportunity to pay their actors and stage management a basic but legal wage – it’s an experiment, I hope it works.”

The new theatre will be a 50-seat venue above the pub and is being opened in partnership with three different organisations.

Greene King, the brewery which owns the pub, is not charging rent or bills, while The King’s Head Theatre is providing front of house staff.

The third company, the Soho Theatre, is providing ticketing services – meaning customers will not be charged booking fees.

The Gazette revealed last month how the King’s Head was looking for investors to help ensure the venue had a bright future.

It, like the new Hope Theatre, does not receive any public funding and is reliant on ticket sales and fund raising efforts.

The Hope Theatre will open with two award-winning plays straight from the Edinburgh Fringe.

Sandpits Avenue and League of St George will be performed between Nov ember 5 and 30.

For more information on the Hope Theatre visit www.TheHopeTheatre.com or call 0207 226 8561.

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