White Bear Theatre

The White Bear Theatre is a fringe theatre founded in 1988 at the White Bear pub in Kennington, London, and run by Artistic Director and founder Michael Kingsbury.[1] It is one of London's leading pub theatres, as well as one of the longest established, dedicated since inception to both new writing and to its Lost Classics Project, which focuses on productions of obscure historical works.[2] Notable theatre practitioners who have worked at The White Bear include Joe Penhall, Dennis Kelly, Mark Little, Emily Watson, Tamzin Outhwaite, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Vicky Featherstone, Torben Betts, Lucinda Coxon, Adam Spreadbury-Maher, and Brice Stratford.

White Bear Theatre
AddressKennington Park Road
London, SE11
United Kingdom
Public transit Kennington
TypeFringe theatre
Opened1988 (1988)

The Lost Classics Project

Alongside the theatre's new writing output, the long-running Lost Classics Project focuses on the production of obscure, underperformed or unperformed plays from previous generations.

In the modern history strand this has included the first uncensored productions of two of John Osborne's supposedly lost early plays (Personal Enemy and The Devil Inside Him),[3] together with a successful revival of Sylvia Rayman's long-unperformed all-female play Women of Twilight.[4]

The project's historical strand has been praised by academics for featuring "an extensive range of non-Shakespearean plays" and for seeking to "extend the repertory beyond the select group of frequently revived plays." Alongside the Read not Dead project at Shakespeare's Globe and the Royal Shakespeare Company's Jacobethan seasons, the Lost Classics Project is considered one of the three most influential attempts to "reshape the twenty-first-century 'early modern repertory,'" with past productions including the first modern performances of Westward Ho by Thomas Dekker and John Webster, and Ben Jonsons final play, The Magnetic Lady.[5]


  • Empty Space Peter Brook Award – Best Up and Coming Venue
  • Time Out Award – Best Fringe Venue
  • Carling London Fringe Award – Best Actor
  • Carling London Fringe Award – Best Production
  • Fringe Report Award – Outstanding Achievement
  • 2012 Empty Space… Peter Brook Award – Mark Marvin Rent Subsidy Award: Instant Classics Company in association with White Bear Theatre[6]
  • 2012 Off West End Award – Best Female Performance: Evelyn Adams, Count Oederland (2011)[7]
  • 2013 Off West End Award – Best Male Performance: Brice Stratford, Ondine (2012)[8]


  1. Fielding, Jonnie. Fringe Benefits: The White Bear Theatre Club, The Londonist. 21 April 2010
  2. London Calling, Top 5: London Pub Theatres, 6 August 2015
  3. Billington, Michael. Personal Enemy Review, The Guardian, 29 Jun 2010
  4. "Women of Twilight". www.womenoftwilightplay.co.uk. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  5. Aebischer, Pascale. Performing Early Modern Drama Today. Cambridge University Press, 11 Oct 2012. pp. 29–30
  6. The Stage. Finborough Theatre wins 2012 Empty Space Peter Brook award (2012)
  7. Off West End Awards: Winners of the Offies 2012
  8. Off West End Awards: Winners of the Offies 2013

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