Creating a space celebrating the vibrant world of West End Theatre, The Theatre Café offers a welcoming environment for regular theatre goers and those new to the theatre the opportunity to experience the West End from a new perspective; whether that be with Open Mic nights, performances or discussions. Reflecting upon this year, founder Jack Malin tells us more about The Theatre Café’s digital adaptations and the venue’s future plans.
Hi Theatre Cafe, you’re a venue committed to celebrating West End Theatre, what inspired the creation of the venue?
Hello. What inspired the creation of the venue? Well, for the last 50 years we have ran a very sucessful ticketing company in the West End called London Theatre Bookings. Over the years we have seen many businesses open & close in the West End but nothing really theatre related. We realised their was a gap in the market, so we decided to open The Theatre Cafe and the success has been incredible.
2020 has witnessed our industry greatly impacted by the Covid pandemic. How did you find the year and how has this affected The Theatre Cafe?
Hard. We have found the year very hard. Across our ticketing shops, the cafe and our head office, we had a team of 27 people, now we are a team of 4 and two of those members are currently on a part-time basis. However we have always kept positive and looked for ways to keep motivated and to keep giving back to the industry. We started Leave A Light On at the very start of the pandemic, and recently we have teamed up with Adam Blanshay Productions to create The Theatre channel. So even though we’ve hardly been open as a cafe this year and have been unable to sell tickets in our shops, we feel lucky & honoured that we have been able to provide work to so many performers though 2020 with online content.
The Theatre Cafe regularly host events, from open mic nights to musical performances. How is it decided who performs?
So with open mic’s, we normally have set days and it just depends if people show up to sing. It is limited time, sometimes it can be super busy and other times it can be really quiet. With musical performances, they are discussions between ourselves, the artist and the show. If a show wants to promote their production, they will contact us about doing a performance/interview however we have ran some sucessful solo gigs with artists such as Natalie Mcqueen and that was more an idea we mutally came up with and made happen.
In a year where we’ve witnessed productions become accessible online, how have you found adding the livestream and theatre channel element to your work?
I would be lying if I said it hasn’t had its challenges, but we have loved every second of it. 2020 has really made people & companies have to think outside the box and we just feel really lucky that we have managed to create content online, accessible to all and a content people love.
What have audience responses been towards the work Theatre Cafe stage generally?
The responses have all been fantatsic and positive. We are so lucky that we have a loving and supportive fan base.
What have you learned from running the venue so far?
We’ve learnt a lot while running the venue but one thing for me that has really stood out is people’s love and passion for the performing arts. The devotion of fans and how the venue we have created is a real hub and safe space for like minded people.
What are your hopes for Theatre Cafe moving forward?
Moving forward we have lots of exciting plans! We have been refurbing the cafe during the lockdown time, we have future shops planned, a Theatre Cafe membership and many more exciting things. So make sure you are follwing The Theatre Cafe on instagram, Twitter, TikTok & Facebook to keep up with all the latest news!
Questions by Lucy Basaba.
To find out more about the Theatre Cafe, visit here…