Hidden Gems

By Lola Castagna

 From the early days of Shakespeare to 19th century Oscar Wilde these playwright’s works have time and time again proven why they are a timeless source of entertainment for everyone, having enjoyed repeated success of centuries and still are in demand. For example, during the Shakespearean era The Globe’s ground level was filled with people standing because the plays were meant for everyone to enjoy. Nowadays going for a play on the West End you’ll see a lot of familiar titles of plays or musicals that have been around and are still popular as well as new works for renowned creators. However, there’s more than just the West End for the big internationally known spaces there are so many hidden gems of theatres in London. There are many shows that are hosted in small theatres all over London providing quality performances in a more intimate setting and offering a more accessible theatre experience.

In London, the West End is the theatre capital of the city with big-name plays showing, similar say, to Broadway in New York City, but also in cities like London and in fact all over the country in the UK you can find much smaller venues.

However, plays in small theatres provide a different experience, and If you’re lucky you might see a test run of a play before it officially moves to the big leagues. These plays are usually more intimate and more for the audience, the connection, and overall the cultural experience; which keeps the original spirit of theatre alive.

On the West End, you might see something like Les Miserables or a similar popular show that follows a traditional set of rules, however, when you go to a smaller theatre you might get, say, an interactive play, bringing the audience into the performance and encourages the participation of the audience. There are so many options of what you can see at smaller venues, with the venues themselves being almost as interesting.

For example, some small play locations are at the back of the pub or in the hall of a chapel. Could you imagine wanting to experience the theatre and you find out the location is in a pub it’s the best of both worlds. Or imagine you’re looking for a small theatre to experience something new and come across a hidden gem playing in an old tobacco warehouse. Another interesting location is The Swallow Theatre in Scotland; which is an old byre (a cow shed) turned into a theatre.

An exact example of this is the intimate play experience, can be found with the play Jo and Sam Find Themselves in Woking at the Hen and Chickens Theatre from April 5th – April 23rd by playwright James Woolf, and Directed by Katherine Reilly.

James Woolf has written about a dozen plays and has also written and published many short stories. For example, he published David and Bella a short story about a sexual encounter gone horribly wrong, as well as, Sunburnt Saints published in 2021 which was collection of short stories.  He also wrote Empty in Angel which was finalist in two standing ovation awards and even received a nominations for best actor in 2021.

Jo and Sam Find Themselves in Woking is a comedy centered around two people meeting (Jo and Sam) and discovering they have many similarities.

The play follows Jo and Sam’s journey from meeting at an art exhibit to everything after while blending tough subjects and comedy together to bring you a new theatre experience.

This play stars Kieran Dee and Phoebe Marshalls the leading actors and will be performed at The Hen and Chickens Theatre.

For tickets, more information click here. If you enjoyed Hidden Gems check out Dance; Reflected.

Hen and Chickens Theatre

109 St Paul’s Road London N1 2NA Website: unrestrictedview.co.uk. 5th – 23rd April Tues – Sat 7.30pm + Sat Matinees 3pm Social Media Details Twitter: @TheHenChickens Facebook: /TheHenandChickensTheatre Twitter: @OliveAndStavros Website: OliveandStavros

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