David Brady, Lauren Gauge & Alex Knott at the Lion & Unicorn Theatre relaunch event. © Peter Jones

My panel talk at the Lion & Unicorn Theatre relaunch event. © Peter Jones

How can a 60-seat black box studio above a pub stand out amongst nearly 100 Off-West End and fringe theatres in London? THIS is how.

There was palpable excitement in the room on last night at Proforca Theatre Company’s industry relaunch of the Lion & Unicorn Theatre, with a very warm reciprocal embrace for the company’s collaborative and inclusive approach to programming and making this a true ‘destination venue’.

For the panel Q&A to discuss the future programming and artist development plans, I was joined on the stage by Proforca artistic director David Brady, advisory director (aka his right-hand woman and ‘enabler’) Lauren Gauge and Alex Knott of newly announced associate company BoxLess Theatre. Amongst the others in the audience pitching into the conversation were Zöe Grain from Boxless, Ross Kernahan from fellow associate company Fight Or Flight and newly announced associate artists Jack Cook and Hannah Bates, as well as Off West End.com founder Sofie Mason and other producers and artists.

The discussion was followed by a special performance of James Lewis‘ ‘love letter to London’ four-hander Feel, directed by David Brady. It was this play that first brought Proforca to the theatre two years ago as a visiting company. The production – now starring Gabrielle Nellis-Pain, Anthony Fagan, Emily Costello and Colin Hubbard – was revived last month at The Space and on a short tour before returning with spin-off monologues collection Feel More to reopen the new Lion & Unicorn.

All in all, an extremely auspicious beginning to a brand-new era for this Kentish Town venue, which surely will become a destination for all fringe theatremakers and theatregoers very soon. It’s definitely on my radar.

To find out more about the Lion & Unicorn Theatre’s future programming plans, and to submit your own work for consideration, including for this year’s Camden Fringe festival, visit the new theatre website at www.thelionandunicorntheatre.com.

Pre-Q&A video

Full Q&A video

Q&A photos

Event photography by Peter Jones.