Today’s Riverside Studios stand on the former site of a Victorian iron works, which was converted into a film studio in 1933. Many classic films were made here, such as The Seventh Veil (1945) with James Mason, The Happiest Days of Your Life with Margaret Rutherford (1950) and Father Brown (1954) with Alec Guinness.
In 1954, the studio were taken over by BBC Television and became home to many of their most iconic programmes, including Hancock’s Half Hour (1957-60), Quatermass and the Pit (1958-59) and Doctor Who (1964-68).
Following the BBC’s departure in 1974, the building became an arts centre in 1976, launching with a vibrant community festival. Under the artistic directorship of playwright and director Peter Gill, Riverside Studios quickly acquired a reputation for excellence and innovation with landmark productions of The Cherry Orchard with Judy Parfitt and The Changeling with Brian Cox (both 1978).
A mixed programme of international theatre, dance, visual art, television, comedy and music was established early on and has succeeded in bringing the world to west London. The variety of our collaborators over the years – including Amy Winehouse, Benjamin Zephaniah, Yoko Ono, Samuel Beckett, Michael Clark, David Hockney, Lenny Henry, Graeae, David Bowie and Black Theatre Cooperative – reflects Riverside’s purpose as an intersection for the arts.
The original Riverside Studios closed for redevelopment in 2014 and the new building opened on the same site in 2019.