Soho Theatre
AddressDean Street
London, W1
United Kingdom
Coordinates51°30′51″N 0°07′59″W / 51.5143°N 0.1330°W / 51.5143; -0.1330
Public transitLondon Underground Tottenham Court Road
OwnerSoho Theatre Company Limited
Opened2000; 24 years ago (2000)

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.

The theatre has established itself as a vital launchpad for new artists[1] 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.

The theatre's programme is a mix of comedy, cabaret and theatre, with a particular focus on new writing and alternative comedy.

Soho Theatre Company

The Soho Theatre Company was formed in 1969 by Verity Bargate and Fred Proud, and initially performed at a venue in New Compton Street.[2] Soon, the company moved to a small basement leased for the Soho Poly, where it would remain for eighteen years.[2] Sue Dunderdale was artistic director of the company for several years in the 1980s.[3][4]

In 1990, the Soho Theatre Company left its original space, and produced works at the venues of the Royal Court Theatre, Riverside Studios, and the Institute of Contemporary Arts.[2] From 1993 to 1995, it took up residence at the Cockpit Theatre in Marylebone.[2] During this period it expanded its Writers' Development programme, and premiered the works of over 35 new writers.[5]

In 1997, work began on a new venue for the Soho Theatre on Dean Street, after securing an £8 million Lottery grant and raising an additional £2.6 million in funds.[2] In 2000, the building opened.[2]

Soho Theatre on Dean Street

A mizrach in the Soho Theatre marking the former site of the West End Great Synagogue

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 (upstairs), and the 140-seat Cabaret Space (downstairs).[6] 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.[7] 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[8] and their newly appointed Literary Manager, Gillian Greer.[9]

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 agreed with Presdee.[10]

Soho Theatre Walthamstow

In 2012, Soho Theatre, Walthamstow Forest Council and Waltham Forest Cinema Trust won a public enquiry securing the future of the Walthamstow Granada building as an entertainment venue. In 2019 the Council funds purchased the building with Soho Theatre announced as its operator.[11]

Currently undergoing a £30m redevelopment,[12] the venue is now scheduled to open in 2024.[13]

The Verity Bargate Award

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.

The award was established in 1981–82 in memory of Verity Bargate, the founder and first artistic director of Soho Theatre.[14]


Soho Poly period

Soho Theatre period


  1. ^ "Soho Theatre | Arts Council". Arts Council England. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Soho Theatre". British Theatre. Retrieved 7 May 2023.
  3. ^ "Sue Dunderdale interview". Unfinished Histories. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  4. ^ "Theatre". Sue Dunderdale .com. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  5. ^ "Past Productions at The Cockpit". Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  6. ^ "About Us". Soho Theatre. Archived from the original on 1 May 2013. Retrieved 7 May 2023. Soho Theatre owns its own Central London venue housing the intimate 150-seat Soho Theatre, our 90-seat Soho Upstairs and our cabaret space, Soho Downstairs.
  7. ^ "Soho Theatre to reposition as playhouse and move to producer-led model".
  8. ^ "Soho Theatre's David Luff:'We want our main space to be a playhouse again'".
  9. ^ "News: Soho Theatre Announces New Literary Manager". 20 September 2019.
  10. ^ "Soho Theatre fined over fall that paralysed stage manager". BBC News. 17 December 2014. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  11. ^ "Soho Theatre Walthamstow | London Borough of Waltham Forest". Retrieved 2 July 2023.
  12. ^ "Soho Theatre Walthamstow to confirm E17 as London's new go-to entertainment destination outside the West End". Walthamforest. Retrieved 2 July 2023.
  13. ^ "History". Soho Theatre. Retrieved 2 July 2023.
  14. ^ "Verity Bargate Award 2022".