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Arts Theatre tenants served notice

Published 22 September 2010

Future productions at London’s Arts theatre have been placed in jeopardy after the venue’s tenants Brasrat Ltd were served notice by landlords Consolidated St Giles LLP.

Christmas family production Puss In Boots and Woody Guthrie musical Woody Sez may no longer be staged in London as Brasrat Ltd’s lease will now terminate on 13 December. An extension to the lease to allow these productions to be performed has been refused.

The lease on the 350-seat London venue, which opened in 1927 as a members club for the performance of unlicensed plays in reaction to the censorship of the Lord Chamberlain, was signed in November 2008 and had been due to run for three years. A three-month break clause, which has now been enforced, was included due to Consolidated’s desire to redevelop the theatre and surrounding buildings. It is thought the move was prompted by Consolidated’s bank, which believed the theatre to have been dark since May 2010.

In April, End Of The Pier Productions (EOP) was appointed by Brasrat to operate and programme the Arts theatre. Since then the venue has played host to a six-week summer run of Lillies On The Land and is currently staging A Guide To Sexual Misery. The runs of Puss In Boots and Woody Sez would fill the schedule until spring 2011, while EOP states that it is “confident the theatre will continue to be fully booked from April 2011”.

The intimate venue holds a special place in the history of British theatre. In 1955, Peter Hall staged the English language premiere of Waiting For Godot at the Arts theatre, while its stage has also seen the world premieres of Pinter’s The Caretaker and Orton’s Educating Mr Sloane. The theatre was also the first London home of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

MA

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