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The Cock Tavern Theatre
The Cock Tavern, Kilburn High Road
The Cock Tavern, Kilburn High Road
Address125 Kilburn High Road
London, NW6 6JH
Coordinates51°32′22″N 0°11′43″W / 51.539342°N 0.195271°W / 51.539342; -0.195271
Public transitLondon Overground Kilburn High Road
TypeFringe theatre
Capacity56 seats
Opened4 February 2009
Closed8 April 2011

The Cock Tavern Theatre was a pub theatre located in Kilburn in the north-west of London. The venue specialised in new works and critical revivals. Resident companies Good Night Out Presents and OperaUpClose were also based at the venue.[1] It shut in 2011, due to health and safety problems regarding the Victorian staircases that serviced the theatre.


The Cock Tavern Theatre was founded in January 2009 in the former first floor function room of The Cock Tavern by Adam Spreadbury-Maher, who is currently the theatre's artistic director.[2] Its first production, Shakespeare's The Tempest, premiered on 4 February 2009 directed by Simon Beyer. The theatre was frequently noted for the intimate and authentic experience provided by the backdrop of the upstairs room at the Cock Tavern.[3] Productions were also staged in the bar itself as well as on the first-floor outside terrace.[4]

The Cock Tavern Theatre won the Peter Brook... Empty Space – Dan Crawford Pub Theatre Award in November 2009,[5] just 10 months after opening, where it was praised by theatre critic Mark Shenton:

"The Cock Tavern, with its tiny auditorium of around 40 seats squeezed into three rows, is a quintessentially cramped upstairs pub theatre. But it is also, thanks to the boldness of its producing team, a newly-essential one, both for restoring some past fringe glories and also moving it boldly forward with new work."[6]

Although the Cock Tavern Theatre originally operated as a receiving house alongside its own productions, it developed into a full-fledged production house. Following a health and safety review of the theatre's access and escape stairs, the theatre closed permanently on 8 April 2011.[7] Productions transferred to other theatres.[1]

Artistic policy and resident companies

The Cock Tavern Theatre had a commitment to hosting world premieres and revivals from playwrights whose work is considered by the artistic director to be relatively unrepresented within British Theatre.[1] From 2008, the theatre developed a reputation for imaginative programming and quality productions,[8] and will be presenting premieres by playwrights Edward Bond, Charlotte Eilenberg,[9] Jack Hibberd and Nick Ward. All programming at the theatre is provided by its two resident companies.

Good Night Out Presents

Good Night Out Presents was formed in August 2008 and moved to The Cock Tavern Theatre following a residency at The White Bear Theatre.[10] The company has developed a relationship with Nick Ward as the theatre's playwright in residence. His play, The Present, was revived at The Cock Tavern Theatre under the guidance of the playwright in 2009.[11]


OperaUpClose, a company aiming to make opera more accessible and to provide young singers with the chance to make their professional debuts, had its debut production, Puccini's La bohème, at The Cock Tavern Theatre. The production ran from 8 December 2009 to 15 May 2010 and had set Act II in the pub area of The Cock Tavern below the theatre, as an alternative to the Café Momus scene in traditional productions.[12]

Theatre staff


Past productions:[16]

Season 2010

Season 2009


  1. ^ a b c The Cock Tavern Theatre (official website)
  2. ^ Moss, Stephen, "OperaUpClose: Puccini in the pub", The Guardian, 3 December 2009
  3. ^ a b Gardner, Lyn, Review: The Backroom, The Guardian, 27 March 2009
  4. ^ Crawford, Skye, Review: Make Mine A Double, Fry and Ley Archived 2011-10-05 at the Wayback Machine, Fringe Review, 30 June 2009
  5. ^ blanchemarvin.com, Peter Brook... Empty Space Awards Archived October 3, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Baluch, Lalayn, "Forest Fringe scoops the top prize at the 20th Empty Space… Peter Brook Awards", The Stage, 3 November 2009
  7. ^ Hall, Richard (8 April 2011). "Dangerous stairs bring the curtain down on theatre at cutting edge". The Independent. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  8. ^ a b Myers, Keith, Review: Make Mine a Double Archived 2011-06-15 at the Wayback Machine, What's On Stage, 3 July 2009
  9. ^ Alan Brodie Representation Ltd., Charlotte Eilenberg Archived 2010-05-23 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Broadwayworld.com, Good Night Out Presents The Present At The Cock Tavern Theatre 8/18-9/5, 28 July 2009
  11. ^ What's On Stage, The Present Archived 2011-06-15 at the Wayback Machine, 2009
  12. ^ a b Shore, Robert, "OperaUpClose takes Puccini to a pub. Now that really is bohemian", The Times, 27 December 2009
  13. ^ Time Out, "How to become a rising directorial star" Archived 2010-01-15 at the Wayback Machine, 30 October 2009 (link no longer available)
  14. ^ Fringe Report Awards 2010
  15. ^ stage.mandy.com, Ben Cooper, Producer[dead link]
  16. ^ "The Cock Tavern Theatre: Past Productions". Archived from the original on 8 July 2011. Retrieved 27 May 2010.
  17. ^ Taylor, Paul (31 May 2010). "Shrunk, Cock Tavern Theatre, London". The Independent. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  18. ^ Billington, Michael, Review: A Model For Mankind, The Guardian, 30 March 2010
  19. ^ Curlet, Evelyn, Review: Much, The Stage, 8 March 2010
  20. ^ Lovett, Jonathan. Review: Nightsongs, The Stage, 2 February 2010
  21. ^ Chatterjee, Amrita, Review: Secrets, Extra! Extra!, November 2009
  22. ^ Armitstead, Chad, Review: Three Minute Hero, Extra! Extra!, October 2009
  23. ^ Smith, Alistair, Review: Together We’re Heavy, The Stage, 2 October 2009
  24. ^ Hunter, Megan, Review: Brooklyn Archived 2010-01-09 at the Wayback Machine, Fringe Review, 16 September 2009
  25. ^ Blake, Georgia, Review: The Present Archived 2011-06-15 at the Wayback Machine, What's On Stage, 21 August 2009
  26. ^ "IndieLondon: Product Medea 4.0 - The Cock Tavern Theatre - Your London Reviews". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015.
  27. ^ Lotz, Corinna, Invisible Storms: theatre with a purpose, A World to Win, May 2009
  28. ^ Myers, Keith, Review: The Backroom Archived 2011-06-15 at the Wayback Machine, What's On Stage, 16 March 2009
  29. ^ Bennett. Natalie, Theatre Review: The Tempest (a gender-reversed version) at the Cock Tavern Theatre, My London Your London, 7 February 2009