Tabard Theatre

The Tabard Theatre is an intimate, 96 seat theatre located in Chiswick in the London Borough of Hounslow. Close to Turnham Green Underground station, it is situated above the Tabard public house which was built in 1880 by the architect Norman Shaw [1] for the Bedford Park Estate. The upper walls of the public house are covered in arts and craft tiles by William De Morgan, and the fireplaces have surrounds of tiles created by Walter Crane an early example of Art Nouveau.

Tabard Theatre
LocationTurnham Green
London, W4
United Kingdom
Public transit Turnham Green
TypeFringe theatre
Opened1985 (1985)
ArchitectRichard Norman Shaw


Early years

It was licensed for theatre use in 1985 and was founded by UK actress Andrea Black. Together with the help of Sam Dowling, (Playwright) Ron Forfar (Actor) and Dale Reynolds (Playwright.) The Tabard Theatre of New Writing was established with a vision for creating the future of theatre through recognising new emerging talented playwrights. The first play chosen was Our Blue Heaven by the late Bill Jesse, followed swiftly after by Riverman by Sam Dowling. Originally, Actors from West London Equity, supported an event to raise money to change the room above the Tabard pub in to a Theatre. Originally when Andrea Black took over the space, it was just a carpeted room. Hidden behind the wall paper were original William Morris tiles.

Very quickly, the space was painted, and a ticket office was established, and bookings were taken for the first production. News of the new theatre in West London attracted a wealth of creative like minded people who gave much of their time to the success. Directors such as Steven Butcher, and Jay Vaughan worked on some of the early plays, which were chosen collectively by a creative team of people, appointed by Andrea Black and Sam Dowling.

The Tabard Theatre created a strong reputation for new writing but also developed into a breeding ground for experimental theatre and alternative comedy.

Later years

Since 2005 the theatre has undergone extensive refurbishment work which is now complete. At the end of 2007, the Tabard Theatre started to produce in house, making it one of the few theatres to do so in a studio theatre with no central funding. In 2009, New Boy, (a co-production at the Tabard Theatre back in April 2008), transferred to the West End; In 2010, Wolfboy followed its steps.

In 2011, the Tabard presented You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown directed by Anthony Drewe and starring Olivier Award winning Leanne Jones. Most recently, the Tabard produced the world premiere of Richard Harris' new play Liza Liza Liza about the life of Liza Minnelli.

Christmas shows have included Stiles and Drewe's musicals Honk! and Just So, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella and currently the UK Premiere of Alan Menken's adaptation of A Christmas Carol.

The Tabard Theatre plays host to its own productions, presents co-productions with other theatre companies as well as receiving work from across the world as a receiving house.

It has also gained a reputation as an ideal venue for comedians to try out new work prior to major tours, and well known names such as Russell Brand, Harry Hill, Russell Howard, Dara Ó Briain and Al Murray have all played there.


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