Upstairs at the Gatehouse bills itself as ‘London’s top theatre’, and at 446 ft above sea level, at the top of a hill that has had the measure of many a cyclist, we can’t argue with them.
The mock Tudor façade disguises a pub that has reportedly occupied the site since 1337 and once served as a courtroom. The building had, until recently, a bit of a boundary problem, in that it used to be slap bang in the middle of the dividing line between Middlesex and London. In its courtroom days, prisoners would try to leg it in to another authority before they could get charged. More recently the building was shared by Camden and Haringey until it was decided in 1993 to move the border a few feet to allow one licensing authority overall control. It’s now the last pub in Camden to the North.
The theatre upstairs has been run by John and Katie Plews since 1985, but the actual space was turned in to an auditorium suitable for ‘Balls, Cinderellas and Concerts’ back in 1895. It’s a pretty versatile theatre and can be altered depending on the production, seating up to 130 people. They seem quite keen to hear from companies intending to stage commercial revivals and they’ve also had their fair share of musicals over the years, although not exclusively. It’s an ideal venue for new producers, directors and technical people to learn and hone their craft.
Upstairs at the Gatehouse is one of the theatres taking part in the Camden Fringe Festival, so there’s a host of theatrical treats on at the moment. (See our review of Sherlock (Abridged), for example).
Upstairs at the Gatehouse, Highgate Village, London, N6 4BD. Box Office - 020 8340 3488
By Jonnie Fielding