Cock Tavern Seeks New Home Due to High StairsDate: 8 April 2011
Having suspended performances earlier in the week Kilburn's Cock Tavern, operated by Good Night Out Presents and artistic director Adam Spreadbury-Maher, will cease productions due to issues which cannot be "structurally or financially resolved".
The Cock Tavern had cancelled performances of A Cavalier for Milady following an unannounced inspection by Brent Council which revealed the auditorium on the first floor of the building was not properly licensed. During negotiations for a temporary events notice which could have seen the venue reopen, the local council raised concerns about the Victorian pub's staircases, deeming height of the steps unsafe.
The Cock Tavern Theatre said in a statement: "The first staircase leads our audience from the pub to the theatre and the second is our emergency exit. Without any funding to rebuild two 110-year-old staircases that serve as our audience access and emergency exit, we have decided to suspend all performances."
A spokesman for the company added they "were in a position to make some changes overnight but the stairs were not one of them". Good Night Out Presents are now seeking alternative premises, with hopes a suitable space can be found in the local area.
Spreadbury-Maher, who is also artistic director of the King's Head Theatre will move Rob Hayes' A Butcher Of Distinction to that theatre. The production had been due to run from 3 to 23 April, however dates for the King's Head run still to be confirmed.
Speaking about the situation Spreadbury-Maher said: "I'd like to thank my hard working and talented writers, directors, actors, designers, producers, agents and general management for their dedication, commitment and passion to The Cock over the past 26 months. I also thank the press for their belief in, and support of, our venue and work, with special mention to the Peter Brook Empty Space Award, and the local and national publications. And to our fearless audiences without whom it would have been lights-out long ago. The Cock will continue to produce world-class theatre, so stay tuned."
The Cock Tavern was the original home of OperaUpClose's production of La Boheme which subsequently transferred to the Soho Theatre and was the surprise winner of this year's Olivier Award for Best New Opera. Their productions over the last two years in the venue have included premieres of work by Tennessee Williams, Edward Bond, Hannie Rayson and Jack Hibberd as well as revivals of pieces by Nick Ward, Stephen Fry and Jon Fosse.