Theatre Royal Stratford East was formed when, in 1884, actor-manager Charles Dillon set out to create Stratford’s first permanent playhouse. He employed James George Buckle as his architect, before applying for a licence to open a venue, which, after some initial objections, was ultimately granted.
Dillon himself went on to star in the lead role of the first play ever presented at the newly-created theatre: Lytton Strachey’s Richelieu; Or The Conspiracy, which opened on 17 December 1884.
Fast forward to the present day and Theatre Royal Stratford East is led by Artistic Director Nadia Fall. The venue places a strong focus on new writing. It is the home of the Theatre Workshop Company, which is best known for its association with the director Joan Littlewood, who served as the theatre’s Artistic Director for over 20 years.
The theatre is a Grade II* listed building and is owned by Pioneer Theatres Limited. It has the capacity to seat 460 audience members split over three tiers.