Good Venue Guide
39: BRIDEWELL THEATRE, EC4
Sunday 28 June 1998
Brief history: from swimming pool to theatre in the space of a century, the Bridewell still provides the "recreation and innocent amusement" which HRH the Prince of Wales so admired back in 1893. The building, originally called the St Bride's Foundation Institute, was frequented by Fleet Street newspaper clerks who used to pop by in their lunch hour for a spot of aerobics. The sunken-pool area, dry since 1972, was chanced upon by Carol Metcalfe while searching for a suitable venue for her musical. It is now covered with a wooden floor that, in its previous incarnation, supported ladies indoor cricket and gentlemen's gymnastics. Today the sub-stage area provides opportunities for all sorts of trap-door shenanigans and doubles as the orchestra pit. It makes the phrase "break a leg" take on a dangerously new significance.
Uses: where Victorian matrons once splashed and frolicked, resplendent in full bathing dress, the Bridewell Theatre Company now stages hits like Damn Yankees and Marry Me a Little. Most prestigious was their world premiere production of Sondheim's Saturday Night.
Waste not want not: the original changing cubicles have been maintained and transformed into lighting and sound boxes.
Current events: a venue for the City of London Festival, it will be hosting iterary readings (including Will Self with Tough Tough Toys for Tough Tough Boys, Simon Callow reading his Orson Welles biography, and Roy Hattersley with Fifty Years On). Eyam, the world premiere of a musical by Stephen Clark (a Sondheim protege), runs from 8 Jul to 1 Aug, Tue-Sat at 7.30pm and Sun at 3.30pm. Tickets are pounds 12/pounds 8 concessions. All bookings for the Festival on 0171 638 8891.
Getting there: by tube to Blackfriars or Chancery Lane.
Where to meet: there's a spanking new Pizza Express just opened on St Bride's Street; otherwise, the theatre bar.
Cost of a glass of wine: pounds 1.20. Annabelle Auerbach
Life & Style blogs
The mother who never gave up on her child abused by the Oxford child sex ring
Britain scrapes into top 25 countries in the world to be a mother in Save the Children report
What do the emoji on Snapchat mean?
The 12 most sexually satisfied countries in the world revealed
Uploading pictures to find out how old you are gives Microsoft the right to post them wherever they want
In defence of liberal democracy
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
- 2 Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
- 3 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...
£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Do you want to get in...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Manager - Birmingham - ...