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
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
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.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Software / Web Developer - ASP.NET

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company produces a wide ra...

    Recruitment Genius: Office / Sales Manager

    £22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established and expanding South...

    Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

    £14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

    Day In a Page

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones