History

The Tower Theatre Company provides high quality yet affordable drama while enabling people of all ages and backgrounds to experience every aspect of live theatre. The company has more than 700 Members and Friends and presents up to 18 full-scale productions a year to a wide audience at our own theatre in Stoke Newington, which we moved into during 2018 .

Frank Smith OBE
Frank Smith : the first Theatre Director of the Company

The company, originally called the Tavistock Repertory Company, was formed in 1932 as the resident company of the Tavistock Little Theatre, based at the Mary Ward settlement in London’s Tavistock Place. It moved to the Canonbury Tower in Islington in 1952, becoming known as the Tower Theatre Company. It remained there for 50 years until forced to leave in 2003. The following years on the road saw the company performing in many different London venues such as the Bridewell Theatre, Theatro Technis and Upstairs at the Gatehouse. In 2018, after many years of searching for the perfect venue, the company moved to its new home in Stoke Newington.

Although it is strictly non-professional, many famous names have appeared here early in their careers, notably Richard Baker who for many years was president of its ‘supporters club’, The Friends of the Tower Theatre, a position now held by the leading stage designer William Dudley, who first practised his craft at the Tower. Others to have acted with the Company over the years include the late Alec Clunes (father of Martin Clunes), Renée Asherson, Tom Courtenay, Siân Phillips, Michael Gambon, Alfred Molina and John Bennett.

In 2016 the Tower was chosen by the Royal Shakespeare Company as its London partner for its production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream : A Play for the Nation, with performances at the Barbican Theatre in London and the RSC Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Hugely successful summer tours include the ever popular Minack Theatre in Cornwall every 2 years plus an annual excursion to the beautiful Jardin Shakespeare in Paris, an open air garden theatre where for nearly 30 years we have performed many of Shakespeare’s classics.

The Tower’s crowded programme makes it one of the busiest companies of its kind in the country.


Here are some photos of the various buildings the Tower has used over the years.

  • The Mary Ward settlement
  • The Tavistock Little Theatre
  • Canonbury Tower and the Tower Theatre
  • Converting King Edward's Hall to be the Tower Theatre
  • The original auditorium at Canonbury
  • Another view of the original theatre in Canonbury before the auditorium was raked
  • The Canonbury Tower Theatre foyer
  • The bar in Canonbury Tower
  • The auditorium of the Canonbury Tower Theatre
  • A get-in at the Canonbury Tower Theatre
  • King Edward's Hall just after the Tower left
  • Upstairs at the Gatehouse
  • Theatro Technis
  • The auditorium at Theatro Technis
  • The Bridewell Theatre
  • The Bridewell Theatre
  • The Sunstone House swimming pool
  • The upper level of Sunstone House before its removal
  • The Sunstone House bar
  • The Tower's railway arches at Leytonstone