London is renowned for its thriving theatre scene, celebrated for both its West End and Off West End variety. Fringe Theatre is the home of UK talent, allowing for theatre makers to stage their works to supportive audiences. We’re home of the pub theatre; a unique environment allowing for you to grab a drink and a meal, before watching the latest production in the venue’s theatre. Based in Crouch End, Moors Bar plays host to a range of quality in house productions, music events as well as the annual Camden Fringe Festival every August. Actor turned Artistic Director Andy James tells us more about the intimate, 40 seat venue.
Hi Andy, you’re the Artistic Director of Moors Bar. How would you describe the venue?
A. The site Moors Bar is on as been a place of entertainment for over 100 years so that makes for a special energy. Performance just works here. If it’s live music like our Blues Jam or Theatre there is always an lovely intermit vibe.
Moors Bar is home to a 40 seat theatre space, which has been running for over 7 years. What inspired you to become Artistic Director of the venue?
A. The main reason for starting Moors Theatre is I love theatre but I also wanted to give small fringe theatre companies the opportunity to put on a show and actually make a little money. I was sick of hearing about venues that would want to take 40% of the door plus all the little add ons that would come up. As an actor myself I know it’s about the work but you would like not to end up losing money.
The venue is one of the host venues of this year’s Camden Fringe. Moors Bar have played host to the festival since 2014. How have you found being a part of the festival?
A. I have loved been part of the Camden Fringe. It reminds me of how much talent there is out there and I’m just please we can give them a stage for them to create some amazing work.
Can you explain the process in terms of choosing what acts are chosen to perform at the venue during the festival?
A. I believe in quality not quantity. It’s not about getting loads of shows in no matter what just to make a few bob. I always look at the content of the show and if it will work in the space. I also love contrast. This year we have a show ‘Grief Counters’ which deals with living with suicide and our first ever musical ‘Title of the show.’ That’s what excites me.
How do you decide what shows to programme throughout the rest of the year?
A. Again it’s about if I think the show will work in our space and would I enjoy working with this company. I put a lot of work into putting on shows so the balance has to be right. I also write and direct so am in the very fortunate position of being able to create and put on in house productions.
Does Moors Bar have a mission statement? If so, what is it?
A. Yes. Excellence without financial exclusion. I feel that everyone should have the opportunity to get their work seen.
For any prospective theatre companies looking to put on their show at the Moors Bar, how can they apply?
What advice would you give to any aspiring directors of a venue?
A. The most important thing is to love what you do. Find shows that you believe in and know will work in your space. You’re never going to do this for the money. The satisfaction when you have a great show up is the real reward.
Questions by Lucy Basaba.
This year’s Camden Fringe Festival takes place from Monday 29th July until Sunday 25th August at various venues. To find out about this year’s show, visit here…
To find out more about the Moors Bar, visit here…