Arts of the UK 2020: Family-run pub theatre The Old Red Lion announces new reopening season
Acclaimed family-run pub theatre The Old Red Lion will reopen its doors this winter with an exciting new theatrical season, once again providing quality entertainment and hospitality to North London. Partnering with another local family business, Bombay Burrito, the pub will provide substantial meals to patrons in line with the latest government regulations.
Reflecting on the eventful year, the post-lockdown season of work will offer a streamlined programme of eclectic new writing, providing a live platform for shows that were denied their run at the Edinburgh Fringe this summer, or were created during lockdown. With financial aid from the Arts Council England Cultural Recovery Fund, the venue is now able to welcome back theatre makers and audiences as it continues to champion fringe theatre.
Alongside the already announced digital Christmas production December written by The Old Red Lion’s Artistic Director Alexander Knott, the season will include: the world premiere of David Shopland (My Father The Tantric Masseur; Soho Theatre) and Shereen Roushbaiani’s (Doctors, BBC) Saving Britney, a hilariously heart-breaking take on celebrity obsession and nostalgia to the backdrop of the #FreeBritney movement; John Berry’s dark comedy Happenings about the lengths we’ll go to live when nothing is happening; and Stephanie Dickson’s BARK, a thoughtprovoking look at terminal illness and finding your place in the world.
Damien Devine, Landlord and Executive Director, comments, I’m delighted to finally be fully reopening the Old Red Lion after a difficult few months for us, and the hospitality industry as a whole. The whole family has pulled together to make this possible, and I’m proud of the way we have adapted to the ever-changing challenges of keeping the venue COVID secure. We look forward to welcoming the public back in time for the festive season, and really encourage everyone to support independent and family-run pubs like us during the critical Christmas period.”
Managing Director Helen Devine adds: “We are particularly grateful to be in receipt of a grant from the Arts Council Culture Recovery Fund to enable us to open the theatre for the first time since March. We’re excited to welcome theatre-makers and audiences back to the ORL, with a season of live shows in our socially-distanced auditorium as well as our first ever online production.”
To remain Covid-Secure, and ensure social distancing is adhered to, The Old Red Lion, has reconfigured the theatre space to accommodate live audiences. The theatre will run with a reduced capacity of 20 people, offering two performances each evening (6pm and 8.30pm). Social distancing will be in effect throughout the venue, with the use of facemasks and the NHS check-in app as mandatory requirements.
Having helmed the pub for 21 years, the Devine family are keen to ensure a safe reopening and support the local community with their theatre and sports offerings, a must for any Norwich City fans due to the pubs close affiliation with the Capital Canaries. Alongside the implementation of food service, the theatre space can now also be transformed into a bookable socially distanced sports lounge to screen large gaming events. The pub also features two outdoor seating areas with TVs, available for bookings of groups of six from mixed households. The year has been devastating for the hospitality sector, but Damien Devine, Landlord and Executive Director, has rallied his family to make the reopening possible.
The Old Red Lion is located at 418 St John St, Islington, London EC1V 4NJ. Their new season runs from 18th December 2020 to 21st January 2021, with more information available here