Where would we be without the Royal Court Theatre? Snuggled next to Sloane Square tube station and beaming benevolently on the Chelsea shoppers thronging London's fashionable King's Road, this playhouse for new writing and new drama was where the angry young man was born, where post-war British theatre took shape and eventually abolished the Lord Chamberlain's censorship of the stage, where the new wave, new shock of British dramatists and writers exploded into national consciousness in the 1990s with their gay rape, baby-eating and very bad language. The Royal Court Theatre: where there are no romantic misunderstandings, no French windows, and no one, absolutely no one is up for tennis on the lawn.
To celebrate 50 years of being what the New York Times calls "the most important theatre in Europe," the Royal Court Theatre will have an Open House day from 11.00am to 11.00pm this Saturday (25th March). The invitation to visit the theatre is as follows:
"We love the Royal Court and we want everyone around us to love it too.
So, as part of our 50th Anniversary celebrations, we are flinging open our doors to you, the public. If you've ever wondered what goes on here, this is the day to find out. Every available space in the Royal Court's Sloane Square building will be animated with vibrant exhibitions, performances, workshops, backstage tours, live theatre and more."
Just drop in and simply by wandering through the building at any point between 11.00am and 11.00pm, you can see the stage, tour the building, see exhibitions, catch the opening scene of the evening's show in rehearsal while the technical crew run through their cues, street theatre in Sloane Square itself and specially priced lunches in the theatre restaurant. Extracts from iconic Royal Court plays will be performed in spaces throughout the building, from the Cloakroom to the Balcony to the bookshop. There'll be budding playwrights attempting to write a play in a day and workshops going on all over the place.
Don't let it be said that London theatre is a closed shop - for Saturday, the Royal Court will do what it does best and explode (perhaps literally...) all expectations.
The Royal Court Open House Day starts at the Royal Court Theatre at 11.00am with events throughout the day until 11.00pm. The theatre restaurant and cafe bar will be open for coffee, lunch and supper as well as drinks and snacks with live music. All events are free. For more information, go to the Royal Court Theatre website here.