The former Actors Centre and Tristan Bates Theatre on Tower Street in the Seven Dials area of Covent Garden in London is to get a major new rebrand.
The Seven Dials Playhouse will open in 2022 as a studio receiving house for the West End, presenting a full programme of plays and musicals, and an associated programme of events.
Led byAmanda Davey, the 100 seater venue plans to continue the work of the Actors Centre in being a place for the development of professional theatre and artists, and for people to collaborate on bold, creative and high quality work.
They intend to programme 4 to 6 week runs of shows, working with high-profile theatre practitioners across all creative programmes with an emphasis on collaboration and support. They are also planning a wide range of associated events featuring workshops, live music, masterclasses, work-in-progress readings, seminars, cast and creative Q&As and more.
The opening show will be the European premiere ofMark Gerrard’s play Steve, directed by Andrew Keates and starring Holby City’s David Ames and Olivier Award-winner Jenna Russell (Guys and Dolls, Sunday In The Park With George).
The play is written by Mark Gerrard, and originally premiered in 2015 in New York’s Pershing Square Signature Center, directed by Sex and the City’s Cynthia Nixon.
Billed as a heartfelt, hysterical, and sharp-witted comedy about the highs and lows of getting older, long-term friendships, monogamy, saying goodbye and being alive, Steve runs from 8 February to 5 March 2022.
Amanda Davey, Chief Executive of Seven Dials Playhouse, said in a press statement that: “When I took over as Chief Executive of The Actors Centre in October 2019, I could never have imagined what was to come. These incredibly challenging 18 months have, ironically, provided us with the opportunity to radically rethink, refocus, and reshape our work. When the organisation first opened in 1978, it was conceived as a place for actors to hone their craft and create networks. Many see it as a safe space in the heart of the West End. Talking to those same people, in recent months, and to those working in the industry I’ve heard a message – that we need to do more and to change in response to changes in the world and the industry.”
Seven Dials Playhouse is run by Chief Executive Amanda Davey, alongside Executive Creative Producer Mitchell Reeve who leads on producing and programming, and Head of Marketing and Communications Jamie Tuohy.
The theatre space was originally called the Tristan Bates Theatre, established in 1994 to celebrate off-West End work, with a smaller space called the John Thaw Studio promoting work-in-progress. The John Thaw Studio was home to the John Thaw Initiative, with each season tailored towards supporting a particular demographic of artist, or a particular theme of work.
The Tristan Bates Theatre was funded by acting giant, the late Sir Alan Bates, dedicated to the memory of his son Tristan who died tragically in 1990, at the age of nineteen at the outset of his acting career. His twin brother is the actor Benedick Bates.