Location: 51 Southwark Street
Currently Showing: Barnum
Access: London Bridge (exit marked Borough High Street)
Stage Door: wait in the bar/box office area
The Menier Chocolate Factory was opened in 2004 after being derelict since the ’80s. The first production to be shown at the theatre was Murderer by Anthony Shaffer. The theatre is run by David Babani. In 2005, the theatre received an award for being an up and coming venue.
In November 2005, Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George opened at the theatre before transferring to the Wyndham’s Theatre (closing in September 2006), and then going on to Broadway. This West End revival won multiple Olivier Awards.
Little Shop of Horrors, which starred Sheridan Smith, played here in 2006 and transferred to the Duke of York’s Theatre and then to the New Ambassadors, where it closed in September 2007.
La Cage aux Folles ran from January to March 2008 before transferring to the West End’s Playhouse Theatre. The production starred Phillip Quast and Douglas Hodge.
In 2009, Gerard Alessandrini’s Forbidden Broadway (the production that sparked the creation of Jest End) showed here and was very successful, so much so that it was revived here again in 2014. In the same year, Sweet Charity starring Tamzin Outhwaite opened. The following year, the London revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Aspects of Love was shown here.
More recently, the theatre has staged: Sondheim and Weidham’s Assassins which starred Catherine Tate and Aaron Tveit; Communicating Doors by Alan Ayckbourn, which starred Rachel Tucker; What’s It All About? Bacharach Reimagined also premiered here and later transferred to the Criterion Theatre as Close To You.
This theatre has had many successful productions and stars performing here, resulting in sold-out runs and West End transfers. In a short space of time, it has become one of the more successful and classy Off-West End venues.
The Menier Chocolate Factory located is in the London Bridge area. The Borough Food Market is very close to the theatre. There is also a Pizza Express within seven minutes’ walk.
The theatre itself has a very nice restaurant (part of the Menier Chocolate Factory). You have to walk through the restaurant to get to the bar and box office area and the theatre. The toilets are located downstairs (on your right as you walk from the restaurant in the direction of the theatre).
The auditorium opens around 30 minutes before the show. The bar area is very small and can become cramped just before the doors are opened. The auditorium changes every time there is a new production and the seating plan is adapted according to the set. The seats are bench style with no arms. It is a small theatre which only holds around 150 (varies depending on the production) people. It is allocated seating, and with it being small venue, there are no seats with bad views.
Reviews from the Chocolate Factory
Dinner with Saddam – ★★★★ “…witty, sharp, thought-provoking and perfectly executed by the cast.” Read more >>>