Good Venue Guide

39: BRIDEWELL THEATRE, EC4

Date of Birth: 20 November 1893; newly renovated in 1994.

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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

    salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

    Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

    Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

    Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

    Day In a Page

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower