Kings Head marks first 50 years with plays by Tom Stoppard and Victoria Wood

Kings Head Theatre bar

Kings Head Theatre, Upper Street, Islington - Credit: Anna Bruce

The King's Head Theatre is marking its first 50 years of success with a 'Barstools to Broadway' week including plays by Tom Stoppard and Victoria Wood.

Running from February 14-19, 2022, it features staged readings of five plays that started their lives in the Upper Street pub venue.

With ticket prices ranging from £10-£250, the performances will raise funds to support and sustain future work as they move into a new purpose built 220 seat theatre next year.

The new Kings Head Theatre venue will open in Islington Square in late 2022

The new Kings Head Theatre venue will open in Islington Square in late 2022 - Credit: Graham Currie

Creative teams will have links to the playwrights and original shows staged at the theatre, which was founded by Dan Crawford in 1970 and helped springboard the careers of many writers, actors and directors.

The week kicks off on February 14 at the V&A with a reading of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s The Third. It was staged in 1980 as part of the theatre's lunchtime programme which offered a platform to new writers. Artist Descending a Staircase by Tom Stoppard, directed by Tim Luscombe, is on February 15. The 1988 work began life as a radio play but Crawford saw an opportunity to bring it to the stage and it transferred to the West End then Broadway.

Dan Crawford, landlord of the King's Head, with an early 20th century till he used to price drinks i

Dan Crawford, who founded the King's Head Theatre - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Next up is Stephen Jeffreys’ Like Dolls or Angels directed by his widow Annabel Arden, which was his first professional production after transferring to the King's Head in 1977 following a run at the National Student Drama Festival.

Bryony Lavery’s second play Grandmother’s Steps is on February 17 and originated in 1977 also as a lunchtime production. Lavery went on to write numerous hit plays including Frozen and The Bridge Theatre's current adaptation of Philip Pullman’s The Book of Dust.

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Finally former Highgate comic Victoria Wood is honoured on February 18 with a reading of her second play Good Fun which ran at the theatre in 1980. Crawford was an early supporter of Wood and she repayed him by hosting many fundraising galas that helped keep the theatre afloat over the years.

Victoria Wood at Gatehouse Upstairs

Victoria Wood's second play will get a reading as part of the Barstools to Broadway week at The King's Head - Credit: Nigel Sutton

King's Head Theatre helped launch the career of Sir Tom Stoppard, pictured during filming of A Maver

King's Head Theatre helped launch the career of Sir Tom Stoppard, pictured during filming of A Maverick in London in 2006. Picture: King's Head Theatre - Credit: Archant

Co-Artistic Director Mark Ravenhill said: “It’s been fascinating to rummage in the Kings Head archives. This week of readings is a fantastic celebration of some of our best work with audiences who have fond memories of the original productions and to others who were too young to enjoy them first time around. It’s a great way to begin the process of saying goodbye to our beloved but knackered pub theatre as we prepare for our move next door to a purpose built 220 seat theatre, a space for the next generation of theatre makers who I’m hoping will have the same cultural impact as the playwrights we’re celebrating in Kings Head 50."