19 January 2022
The Kings Head Theatre presents ‘Barstools to Broadway’, a celebration to mark the successes of our first 50 years as we look towards the next 50 years in our new venue.
The King’s Head Theatre opened its doors behind a pub on Upper Street in 1970. Over the last 50 years we’ve seen our playwrights, plays and creatives go on to great heights: springboarding them from the Fringe into the West-End, Broadway and beyond.
Join us in celebration of the history of fringe theatre, as we dive into the dusty archives and re-mount plays that started at our small but mighty pub theatre – many for the first time since their original staging.
Artist Descending a Staircase by Tom Stoppard Tuesday 15th February 7 pm
Director: Tim Luscombe
In addition to early career first chances, the theatre also maintained several long-term working relationships, such as that with Tom Stoppard. His play, “Artist Descending a Staircase” (1988) began life as a radio play but the then Artistic Director, Dan Crawford saw an opportunity to bring it to the stage. It also marked the return of Tim Luscombe to the venue, after working with them on a production of Noel Coward’s “Easy Virtue”, that had transferred to the West End. Stoppard’s play received similar acclaim and duly transferred to the West End as well, followed by a transfer to Broadway!
Like Dolls or Angels by Stephen Jeffreys Wednesday 16th February 7 pm
Director: Annabel Arden
Like Dolls or Angels (1977) was transferred to the King’s Head Theatre after a successful run at National Student Drama Festival. This marked Stephen Jeffrey’s first professional production, another example of the King’s Head Theatre championing early career playwrights.
Grandmother’s Footsteps by Bryony Lavery Thursday 17th February 7 pm
Director: Abigail Anderson
Cast: Ruth Bratt, Lucy Trodd (from The Showstoppers)
Bryony Lavery’s second play, Grandmother’s Steps (1977), was also a lunchtime production. Les oeufs malades, the company that Bryony co founded alongside Gerard Bell in 1976 was created to create roles for women. Bryony is also part of an extensive lineup of LGBT theatre makers that the King’s Head Theatre has supported in their early career.
Good Fun by Victoria Wood Friday 18th February 7 pm
Director: Annabel Leventon
Another such long-term relationship was that with Victoria Wood. Dan Crawford was an early supporter, transferring her second play Good Fun (1980) to the theatre. She would go on to repay this early support of her career by hosting many fundraising galas that were vital to keeping the theatre afloat in the latter years of Dan’s tenure.
Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens Saturday 19th February, 3pm & 7pm
Lyrics & Book by Bill Russell
Music by Janet Hood
Writer and director Bill Russell returns to the King’s Head Theatre to direct the cult hit: Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens. Originally produced in the 80s, this groundbreaking piece of Musical Theatre started at the King’s Head Theatre and consequently went on to dazzle in the West End.
The show is a collection of heart-wrenching monologues and songs, playing homage to the intertwined cacophony of voices affected, killed and debilitated by AIDs. These stories and characters span generations, sexual orientation and gender - telling the true story of the loss and pain felt by an entire generation. Scored to perfection by Janet Hood.
This epic show boasts a cast of over 30 performers; which in our fringe theatre space, is a feat worth experiencing in itself.