Etcetera Theatre has been going since 1986, when a guy called David Bidmead thought that the function room above the Oxford Arms Pub on Camden High Street could be turned into a cosy theatre. In fact, it’s so cosy, that it’s officially (apparently) London’s smallest theatre.
Despite having a capacity of 42 audience members and a stage that is just over 5 metres wide, it hasn’t stopped the Etcetera from playing host to over 20 years of new writing, revivals, comedy, music, magic and readings that have seen successes transfer to the Royal Court and Hampstead Theatres.
A few years back The Guardian heralded this tiny Camden theatre “one of London’s best pub theatres” acting as a key venue in the Camden Fringe, and due to its diminutive size, it’s perhaps not surprising that the Etcetera instigated the ‘One Person Play’ festivals.
The theatre has shows all year round but in July provides a platform for comics and sketch groups to preview their material in preparation for the Edinburgh Festival. Previous years have seen Simon Amstell, Russell Brand, Al Murray and Mark Thomas perform in this intimate venue, so it's probably worth checking out the listings for tomorrow's big names.
The theatre space is for hire, and during the day is often used for rehearsals, casting and readings. Just a short walk from the tube on Camden's main strip, Etcetera offers an alternative to the music vibe that Camden is renowned for.
By Jonnie Fielding
The Etcetera Theatre is upstairs at the Oxford Arms, 265 Camden High Street, London, NW1 7BU. And there's a beer courtyard out back. We've been there rather a lot over the years. Have you read our Camden Fringe preview?