One of London’s first and most famous pub theatres, the King’s Head has been a mainstay of the city’s fringe since the ’70s.
However, change has been afoot for some time now, with a move to a much larger, purpose-built 200-seat venue in Islington Square on the cards for several years.
So many years have passed that we maaaay have got a little skeptical about it ever happening, not least because the big-name artistic directors who were meant to lead it into the new venue – Mark Ravenhill and Hannah Price – have both left, leaving the organisation looking somewhat rudderless when the old venue shut in the summer.
But no, we were wrong to doubt: the new King’s Head Theatre will formally open in January 2024 with a new play called ‘Exhibitionists’, a gay romcom written by Shaun McKenna and Andrew Van Sickle, followed by Kevin Kelly’s drama about Benjamin Britten ‘Turning the Screw’.
Before that, though, it will ‘soft launch’ pre-Christmas with a tenth-anniversary run for John Brittain’s beloved drag fantasia ‘Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho’.
It’s not entirely clear who is actually programming the theatre – though probably it’s the acting CEO Sofi Berenger – or if there is any plan to appoint an artistic director again in the future. But it’s a welcome rebirth for one of London’s most storied venues.
The new King’s Head Theatre is at Islington Square, 116 Upper St, London N1 1AB.
‘Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho’ will run Dec 16-20.
‘Exhibitionists’ will run Jan 5-Feb 10 2024.
Plus: the best Christmas shows in London.