Arcola Theatre
London, E8
United Kingdom
Coordinates51°33′07″N 0°04′26″W / 51.551944°N 0.073889°W / 51.551944; -0.073889
Public transitLondon Overground Dalston Junction; Dalston Kingsland
OwnerArcola Theatre Production Company
Capacity200 (main house)
100 (studio)
ProductionRepertory productions
Opened2000; 24 years ago (2000)

Arcola Theatre is in the London Borough of Hackney. It presents plays, operas and musicals featuring established and emerging artists.

The theatre building, in the former Colourworks paint factory on Ashwin Street, Dalston, houses two studio theatre spaces, two rehearsal studios and a café-bar. In 2021 the theatre opened Arcola Outside, also on Ashwin Street.[1]

Since 2007 the Green Arcola project has aimed to make Arcola the world's first carbon-neutral theatre.


Arcola Theatre was founded by artistic director Mehmet Ergen, in September 2000.

Its original location was a former textile factory on Arcola Street in Dalston. The theatre celebrated this with its fifth anniversary production, The Factory Girls by Frank McGuinness. In January 2011 the Arcola moved to a former paint-manufacturing workshop on Ashwin Street in Dalston, after its previous landlord earmarked the Arcola Street site for redevelopment as apartments.[2] It marked the move by premiering The Painter, a play about J. M. W. Turner by Rebecca Lenkiewicz.[3]

Since its inception the theatre has twice won the Peter Brook Empty Space Award and was awarded Time Out Live Awards in 2003 and 2006.[citation needed]

In 2007, an Arcola co-production of Mojo Mickey by Owen McCafferty became its first West End transfer to the Trafalgar Studios.[4] 2007 also marked the first year of the Arcola's Grimeborn, an opera and musical theatre festival that runs for two weeks in August.[citation needed]

The theatre claims to be committed to achieving carbon-neutral status and a research project, Arcola Energy, "bringing together the creative mindset and the engineering methodology", is established on the building's top floor to develop and market hydrogen fuel cells, with the profits subsidising the theatre's community arts projects.[5] Simple8's 2008 production at the Arcola, The Living Unknown Soldier, was the first show to be powered by the venue's hydrogen fuel cell. Peak power consumption for lighting was said to be 4.5 kW, or "up to 60 percent less than comparable lighting installations".[6]


  1. ^ "Arcola Outside".
  2. ^ "Arcola Moves as Landlords Turn Theatre into Flats - - News -". Archived from the original on 9 December 2010. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
  3. ^ Lee, Veronica (10 April 2012). "Moving stories for London's fringe theatres". London Evening Standard.
  4. ^ British Theatre Guide, 30 May 2007 accessed 18 Sep 2007
  5. ^ "Case study: Arcola Theatre". 10:10 Climate Action. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  6. ^ "Arcola Theatre Now Hydrogen Fuel Cell Powered". Stage Directions. April 2008. Retrieved 30 April 2023 – via ProQuest.