The Tabard

The Tabard Theatre is a small 96-seat theatre in Chiswick in the London Borough of Hounslow. Close to Turnham Green Underground station, it is situated above the Tabard public house on Bath Road. The Tabard Theatre was licensed and opened for theatre use in 1985. It was renamed as the Chiswick Playhouse in 2019 which closed in March 2022.[1] It is reopening as the Tabard in September 2022.[2]


Further information: Architecture of Bedford Park § Community buildings

The Tabard public house was built in 1880 by the architect Norman Shaw as one of the public buildings of the Bedford Park garden suburb; the others, nearby, are the Bedford Park Stores, St Michael and All Angels church, and a clubhouse, now the London Buddhist Vihara.[3] The upper walls of the public house are covered in arts and craft tiles by William De Morgan, and the fireplaces have surrounds of tiles created by Walter Crane – an early example of Art Nouveau.[4]


Tabard Theatre


The Tabard Theatre was licensed and opened for theatre use in 1985.[5] It was founded by the actress Andrea Black. With the help of the playwright Sam Dowling, the actor Ron Forfar and the playwright Dale Reynolds, 'The Tabard Theatre of New Writing' was established with a vision for the future of theatre through recognising new playwrights. The first play chosen was Our Blue Heaven by the late Bill Jesse, followed by Riverman by Sam Dowling. Originally, actors from West London Equity supported an event to raise money to adapt the room above the Tabard pub into a theatre. When Andrea Black took over the space, it was just a carpeted room. Hidden behind the wallpaper were original William Morris tiles.

3-D model of the theatre's interior

The space was painted, a ticket office was established, and bookings were taken for the first production. News of the new theatre in West London attracted a wealth of creative like-minded people who gave much of their time to the success. Directors such as Stephen Butcher and Jay Vaughan worked on some of the early plays, chosen collectively by a creative team appointed by Andrea Black and Sam Dowling. The theatre created a strong reputation for new writing, and developed into a home for experimental theatre and alternative comedy.

In 2005 the theatre was refurbished. At the end of 2007, the Tabard Theatre started to produce in house, making it one of the few theatres to do so in a studio theatre with no central funding. In 2009, New Boy, a 2008 co-production, transferred to the West End; In 2010, Wolfboy followed its steps. In 2011, the Tabard presented You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown directed by Anthony Drewe and starring Olivier Award winning Leanne Jones. The Tabard produced the world premiere of Richard Harris's new play Liza Liza Liza about the life of Liza Minnelli. Christmas shows have included Stiles and Drewe's musicals Honk! and Just So, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella and currently the UK Premiere of Alan Menken's adaptation of A Christmas Carol. The theatre gained a reputation as a venue for comedians to try out new work prior to major tours, and well known names such as Russell Brand, Harry Hill, Russell Howard, Dara Ó Briain and Al Murray have all played there.[6]

Chiswick Playhouse

In 2019, the theatre was renamed the Chiswick Playhouse.[7][8] The actor Fred Perry became executive director of the theatre.[9] The Chiswick Playhouse closed in March 2022.

Theatre at the Tabard

It was announced that theatre would be returning to the Tabard in July 2022. [10]


  1. ^ Chiswick Playhouse, London Pub Theatres Accessed 21 May 2022
  2. ^ "Theatre returns to the Tabard in July - Chiswick Calendar News". 13 June 2022.
  3. ^ Cherry, Bridget; Pevsner, Nikolaus (1991). The Buildings of England. London 3: North West. London: Penguin Books. p. 409. ISBN 978-0-14-071048-9. OCLC 24722942.
  4. ^ Tabard in Chiswick - Greene King Pubs
  5. ^ "Tabard Theatre". Theatres Online. Retrieved 9 July 2021.
  6. ^ "Archive". Chiswick Playhouse. Retrieved 6 August 2021. For the history of productions in each year, scroll down and click on the desired year.
  7. ^ McGinty, Áine (10 October 2019). "Tabard Theatre relaunches as Chiswick Playhouse". The Chiswick Herald. Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  8. ^ "Tabard Theatre Relaunched As Chiswick Playhouse". Chiswick W4. 9 October 2019. Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  9. ^ Jeffery, Heather (1 May 2021). "Interview with Fred Perry". London Pub Theatres Magazine. Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  10. ^ "Theatre returns to the Tabard in July - Chiswick Calendar News". 13 June 2022.

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