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The Gate Theatre announces move to Camden, new chair Shami Chakrabarti and first production in new venue

Shami Chakrabarti

Following a long search for more accessible premises, the Gate Theatre announces today that it will be moving to a new theatre space in Camden in July 2022.

The Gate Theatre will now be located at 26 Crowndale Road, the home of Theatro Technis in Somers Town. The move follows the success of last year’s revival of the critically acclaimed Dear Elizabeth at the venue. The performance space provides a larger auditorium, foyer and bar space, which are wheelchair accessible and step-free.

The Gate has a long tradition and reputation for being a small-scale theatre that always pushes boundaries. Founded above a pub in 1979, it has nurtured early work by major artists including Natalie Abrahami, Carrie Cracknell, Paterson Joseph, Sarah Kane, Lynette Linton, Katie Mitchell, Indhu Rubasingham, and Erica Whyman.  The new space will build on the values of the original remaining light-footed and critically engaged, and continuing a strong tradition of serving its community. 

Joining the team at this exciting time in the Gate’s long history is Labour Party politician, barrister and human rights activist, Baroness Shami Chakrabarti, who will join as Chair of the Board later in the summer. She served as the Director of Liberty (the National Council for Civil Liberties) from 2003 to 2016 and as Shadow Attorney General from 2016 – 2020.

The Gate’s first production to open at 26 Crowndale will be award-winning playwright Sami Ibrahim’s A Sudden Violent Burst of Rain, directed by Gate Associate Director Yasmin Hafesji, and produced in association with Paines Plough and Rose Theatre. This poetic fable tells a story of an impenetrable immigration system that mirrors our own and will run from 19 October to 5 November 2022.

A further season of work will be announced shortly as well as farewell activity at the original venue on Pembridge Road in Notting Hill.

Shawab Iqbal, Executive Director and CEO said “We are thrilled to finally be able to announce this historic moment for the Gate. For over forty years, the theatre has occupied a crucial place in the ecology, being a springboard for the next generation of dynamic and visionary artists and leaders. 26 Crowndale addresses physical accessibility challenges of our Notting Hill site, and allows us to continue to present ground-breaking work in a bigger auditorium. I’d like to thank our loyal audiences and donors in Notting Hill for coming with us on this journey, and look forward to embedding ourselves in our new community in Somers Town, Camden. Huge thanks also to our funders including Arts Council England for their support during this key time. Here’s to the next 40 years of the Gate.”

Stef O’Driscoll, Interim Artistic Director said “We are so excited to start our journey at 26 Crowndale with A Sudden Violent Burst of Rain directed by our brilliant Associate Director Yasmin Hafesji. The recent Nationality and Borders Bill has implemented stricter immigration laws at a time when people across the globe are being forcibly displaced due to the impacts of war and climate change. This fantastical new play by Sami Ibrahim follows an all too familiar story of a woman seeking sanctuary who is instead faced with a hostile environment. This is just the beginning of more stories to come from Gate Theatre which reach beyond borders and will serve our community by telling rich and nuanced stories representative of the multi-generational diasporic communities on our new doorstep.”

Shami Chakrabarti, incoming Chair of the Board said, “I am honoured to be joining the Gate as its chair at this pivotal moment. Its values of internationalism, diversity and community are the essence of great theatre and what it brings to our lives in challenging times.”