Contingent on your take on the Ship of Theseus/Trigger's Broom theory, Islington's Old Red Lion pub might be about to turn 600. Records show than an inn opened on the same north London spot in 1415 and was called the Redde Lyon. That said, the original pub was torn down at the end of the 19th century — the current incarnation tacked up shortly after in its place.
Anyway, whether or not the pub is indeed 600, we can confirm, indisputably, the presence of an upstairs theatre at the pub for 35 years now (it was a boxing ring before this). And it's this snug black box theatre that will host a special festival this summer — offering fresh talent a chance to get an airing in a venue that's historic any way you look at it.
Redfest 600 runs from 31 May to 21 June, showcasing six new plays, and culminating on 21 June with a gala performance in which: "a new rapid response work will pick up on the themes of previous productions and celebrate the pub’s entire dramatic history".
We don't know what the other six plays are, because the Old Red Lion is inviting submissions for these on Monday. Anyone can enter, but you'll need to be an entire production team (i.e. you can't just send in a script), and the play must not have been previously commissioned. Works will need to reflect on a specific century in some way too, although the theatre has told us they're not being overly prescriptive on this.
More information will be available on the Old Red Lion's website from 16 March.
The Old Red Lion Theatre has previously hosted names including Nina Raine, Kathy Burke, Luke Barnes, Penelope Skinner, Katie Mitchell and Abi Morgan.