The Orange Tree Theatre was founded in 1971 by Sam Walters, in a room above the Orange Tree Pub. Over the years which followed the theatre and its reputation grew. Audiences came to experience drama, musicals, classics and revivals, all produced in the Orange Tree's particular style.
The Orange Tree's objectives were to make good live theatre accessible, presenting productions to a consistently high standard at reasonable prices in informal surroundings; to encourage new writing; to be a community resource; and, principally, to promote and develop theatre in the round.
During the 1980s it became clear that the Orange Tree was outgrowing the room above the pub. Audiences were overflowing, backstage was overstrained and it was clearly unsuitable for the rapidly expanding community programme. After years of planning and fundraising, a new theatre was opened in 1991. It was the first purpose-built theatre-in-the-round in London.
1 Clarence Street