Here to give you one of your cultural five a day (or month… or year), the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond is one of the city’s most esteemed fringe venues.
It all started out more than half a century ago in a room above the Orange Tree pub, where shows had to be performed during the day as they didn’t have any proper lighting. The theatre’s popularity eventually outgrew the place, and the Orange Tree moved into a disused Victorian school just across the road. The theatre can now seat a more generous 180, but thanks to its ‘in-the-round’ set-up (with the audience surrounding the stage), it still retains that intimate feel, with the actors just inches away from the front row.
Even in its early days, the Orange Tree Theatre drew high-profile theatre critics to its shows, and the productions staged here have won a fair number of awards over the years. With a nose for great new writing, the theatre’s helped to launch the careers of now-famous playwrights like Martin Crimp and Alistair McDowall, whose sell-out show Pomona went on to transfer to the National Theatre.
Coming up in 2024 is a production of She Stoops To Conquer starring Freddie Fox and Sex Education’s Tanya Reynolds; a rare revival of Noël Coward’s Suite in Three Keys; a brand new play by David Edgar set in McCarthyist America; and a new Olympic doping drama from A Doll’s House Part 2 playwright Lucas Hnath – as well as occasional gigs, concerts, and discussions with luminaries from the arts world.
The theatre bar opens an hour before every performance, with punters spilling out onto the street on warmer days. But if there’s no room indoors…
…there’s a lovely little pub across the road.
NOTE: The Orange Tree Theatre stages shows throughout the year – you can see what’s on, and buy tickets (from £15) here.
Orange Tree Theatre | 1 Clarence Street, Richmond TW9 2QE
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