Theatres fit for Shakespearean Kings
When you’re looking to organise a national tour for a production, band or comedy act, finding a theatre that’s suitable and affordable can be tricky if you’re not a known name or act.
A significant knock-on effect of cuts to arts funding at both local and national level has been the need for theatres to change their contracts. Two-way box office ‘splits’ are heavily stacked in the theatre’s favour, reducing their financial risk, but potentially leaving performers out of pocket before they even step onto stage. Hire charges have risen too, putting many municipal venues beyond the reach of new companies and acts alike.
Cue the independent school theatre
However, there is a secret source of exceptional performing spaces ready and waiting to welcome your performance. Nearly all independent schools have superb theatres kitted out with the latest theatre technologies and backstage facilities, and available for hire.
What’s more, private schools are often keen to attract touring productions as they bring people into the school who otherwise might not ever see inside the gates. What’s more, there is usually ample off-road parking for audience members, and easy access for both get in and get out crews.
Here are five superb school theatres just waiting to welcome you on stage…
The Hunt Theatre, Felsted School, Essex
This intimate theatre is ideal for a whole range of productions, including comedy set try-outs and one-person shows. Seating 150, the theatre has a fully installed technical setup, and two dressing rooms backstage. An established and popular venue in the area, the theatre regularly hosts professional touring shows from companies such as Out of Joint, Eastern Angles and Scamp.
The Greek Theatre, Bradfield College, Reading, Berkshire
This exceptional venue is a faithful reproduction of an open air ancient Greek theatre, built in an old chalk pit in the heart of the school grounds. Completely restored in 2014, the amphitheatre features traditional stone tiered seating in a horseshoe shape around the orchestra (circular performing area), an extended stage area, and a smart new wooden skene (backstage building). Even if you don’t know your Euripides from your elbow, it’s a stunning space for plays, musicals, and performance poetry, performed under the stars.
The Theatre, Royal Russell School, Croydon
The school boasts its own Performing Arts Centre with a fully equipped drama studio for rehearsals and a versatile auditorium space seating 200. Situated within easy reach of London, it’s ideal for those companies and performers wanting to include a London area venue on their tour. Set back in the school’s extensive and quiet grounds, the auditorium is also a great location to record promo videos, as is the Great Hall, also available for hire. The school also has a music suite with recording studio ?? check this is available for hire?? for acts wanting to record demo tracks.
The Theatre, Ibstock Place School, Richmond Park, London
This is a true gem, a new 300-seat theatre with a low stage, tiered retractable seating for 300, an orchestra pit, extensive foyer and bar, green room, and dressing rooms. Constructed in pale, stripped wood, and with state of the art technical facilities, this is a theatre to treasure for almost any kind of staged performance or concert. There’s even a separate studio theatre for rehearsals, Friends events or press receptions.
The Ryan Theatre Harrow School, London
The Ryan Theatre is Harrow School’s purpose built theatre, built in 1994 and seating up to 389 in a shallow and wide auditorium with excellent views from all seats (and plenty of legroom too!). The theatre boasts a large stage, with the further option of a thrust stage or sunken orchestra pit if required. There is a proper Foyer, and a Saloon on the ground floor for drinks receptions. With excellent local transport links to central London and local parking, this is a smart, well-equipped theatre space with its own team of creative, technical and administrative professionals.
If we shadows have offended…
Think of this and all is mended – we have lots of schools on our books offering exceptional performance spaces for hire across the country. Call us with your requirements and we’ll help you find the best theatre or space for your next tour.