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The Covent Garden Theatre That Used To Be A Banana-Ripening Warehouse

By Georgie Darling

The Covent Garden Theatre That Used To Be A Banana-Ripening Warehouse

The Donmar Warehouse is a 251-seat theatre at the heart of Seven Dials in London’s Covent Garden.

Its past spans everything from first existing as a vat room for a brewery, before turning into a banana-ripening warehouse, and eventually, becoming a theatre. It’s stayed like that since the 1960s. And it wasted no time before pulling in some big names: during this period, it played host to the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

In 1992 it turned into the Donmar Warehouse and went on to win more than 100 awards for the intimate shows that it puts on each year. Because the space is so small, it’s possible to seat everyone so they’re up close and personal with the stage – you don’t have to worry about bringing binoculars or winning the seat lottery here. If you’re lucky, there’s even the chance to chat away to the actors once the show’s over.

Spectacular production and a relatively cheap ticket means the Donmar is a top spot to visit if you find yourself in Covent Garden but don’t want to empty your bank account. And if you’re stuck for choice as to what’s coming up, we’ll give you a hint in the form of some of our favourite productions taking to the stage soon.

Right now (until June 8) you can head along to Donmar Warehouse and watch Sweet Charity – a Broadway classic set in New York, 1967. During Sweet Charity, multiple guest actors will play the role of Daddy Brubeck including Shaq Taylor, Adrian Lester, Le Gateau Chocolat, Beverley Knight and Clive Rowe. All tickets on Fridays from 26 April can be claimed for free for those aged 25 by entering a ballot.

Coming up from June 20 you’ll find Europe – a prophetic early masterpiece from David Greig that explores our complex relationship to Europe – as a continent, a refuge, an idea. Joining previously announced cast members Billy Howle (Berlin), KevorkMalikyan (Sava), Faye Marsay (Adele), Stephen Wight (Billy) and  Shane Zaza (Morocco) will be Theo Barklem-Biggs as Horse, Ron Cook as Fret and Natalia Tena as Katia. You can also watch Appropriate (from August 16), when Branden Jacobs-Jenkins will take on the rich tradition of American family drama in his gripping play about ghosts and the legacies we are left with. You’ll find the full list of shows coming up here and some more top shows that we’ve already recommended here.

The Donmar’s free ticket scheme for those aged under 26, YOUNG+FREE, will continue with Europe, offering seats for performances across the new season with tickets released by ballot at the end of every month.

But the Donmar isn’t just a great spot for watching a show: it’s also home to three excellent bars. The Donmar features various spots to grab a drink across different floors in the building, though one has been converted to house the 10-piece band who will play live during their new production of the iconic musical Sweet Charity. This means that the foyer has also been transformed into a special bar themed to the production – something that you won’t spot in any other theatres in the city.

This article was sponsored by Grand Marnier. We recommend starting your evening at the theatre with a delicious Grand Marnier Grand Tonic, or visit from June to enjoy a Grand Marnier Grand 75 cocktail (served with Chapel Down brut) at one of Donmar Warehouse’s Bars. 18+ only. Please drink responsibly. For all the facts, visit drinkaware.co.uk. Follow Grand Marnier on Instagram or at grandmarnier.co.uk


Also published on Medium.