Arts Theatre



  • A small London theater in Great Newport Street. It began in1927 as one of the private theater clubs formed to exploit a loopholein British censorship. An early success (1928) was John Van Druten'sYoung Woodley, a play banned in public theaters by the LordChamberlain. Between 1942 and 1950 manager Alec Clunes developed a"pocket National Theatre", offering such new plays asChristopher Fry's The Lady's Not for Burning. In 1955 PeterHall presented the British premiere of Beckett's Waiting for Godot.Other notable premieres included Anouilh's Waltz of the Toreadors(1956) and Pinter's The Caretaker (1960). The Royal ShakespeareCompany presented a six-month experimental season at the Arts Theatrein 1962.

    Carl Jenner's Unicorn Theatre for Children took over the venuein 1967. In the 1970s the Unicorn presented new plays for childrenwhile leasing the venue to visiting companies for evening performances;this produced such successes as Tom Stoppard's Dirty Linen(1976), which ran for 1667 performances, and John Godber's Teechers(1988). In 1992 the Reduced Shakespeare Company offered The CompleteWorks of William Shakespeare, with 37 plays abridged into twohours. Recent productions have included The Vagina Monologues(2001) and the satirical The Madness of George Dubya (2003).Since coming under new management in 2006 the Arts has concentratedlargely on music and stand-up comedy.