Anna Himali Howard, 12 January 2016

This session was born out of a frustration with posh crisps (and snacks in general) in

theatres, but everyone who came helped to articulate the problem more specifically.

- A lot of theatres and arts centres have artistic, audience and inclusion policies which

aren't matched by their public space

- Cafe spaces are subsidising theatre spaces, which is totally understandable

- The cafe feeling like a ‘treat’ might mean that theatre is coded as a ‘treat’ too

- Can we prove that there is an economic case for theatre cafes which are cheap and

cheerful, cater for people who work in the theatre and people who want to hang out

and eat a fry up or a plate of curry and rice?

- Some big theatres have a huge amount of staff who would get lunch there if it was

affordable and filling.

- Lots of suggestions of places I might go to see alternative models:

The Hub, Leeds

The Arc, Stockton

The Albany, Deptford

West Yorkshire Playhouse (drinks apparently very cheap!)

Salisbury Playhouse

Derby Theatre

- It was suggested that theatre's ‘branding’ (especially when they have a reopening) is

top-down, and isn't matched up with outreach policies

- Can we fuse a space where creatives gather (e.g the Everyman Bistro in Liverpool)

with the cafe at the markets (where anyone will come for a jacket potato)?

- Theatres may be consciously or unconsciously coding their public space as elitist or

middle class

- Example was used by someone who brought their dad to Marmalade at the REP

before their own show, but ended up feeling guilty because it was expensive and

alienating for him

Steps some of us decided on:

- Compile a list of places we can visit which offer an alternative use of theatre cafes

- Speak to the people to run them and find out if the figures add up - if it's busier does

it make up for making less per table?

- Approach theatres and make the case for change


cafe, Theatre, drink, Drink, inclusion, Access, access, food, public space, THEATRE,

Food, theatre

Comments: 1

Robert Wells, 12 January 2016

I realised afterwards why it is that Hunt & Darton works so well as a cafe: they make a feature of the fact that they sell sugar

sandwiches and cheap cups of tea. I'm not sure as it works as a long term business model, but as a short term pop up it's