RADA Studios

"The Drill Hall" redirects here. For other drill halls, see Drill Hall (disambiguation).
RADA Studios
Bloomsbury Rifles

The Drill Hall
Location Chenies Street
London, WC1
United Kingdom
Coordinates 51°31′14″N 0°07′57″W / 51.520556°N 0.1325°W / 51.520556; -0.1325
Public transit London Underground Goodge Street
Type Studio theatre
Capacity 200 seats
Opened 1884 (1884)
Architect Samuel Knight

RADA Studios (formerly The Drill Hall) is a theatrical venue in Chenies Street in the London Borough of Camden, just to the east of Tottenham Court Road, owned by the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).

The venue contains rehearsal rooms and meeting rooms, and two small theatres - the 200-seat Studio Theatre, and the 50-seat Club Theatre.[1]

History and Drill Hall

The venue was built in 1882 as a drill hall for the Bloomsbury Rifles - the architect was Samuel Knight.[2] It has a notable artistic history: in the 1900s, Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes rehearsed there.[2] During World War II it was used for Ralph Reader's Gang Shows.[2] In the 1960s it was used as an art gallery for the Tate Gallery’s exhibition of the McAlpine Collection.[2]

Drill Hall shortly after completion

The venue started to be used as an arts centre for Bloomsbury and Fitzrovia in 1977,[2] and became a theatre, the Drill Hall, in the 1980s after many years of being used as a rehearsal hall. From 1984, the Drill Hall particularly supported production of theatrical and artistic works with gay and lesbian themes.[3] In 2007, the Drill Hall, with an annual turnover of £1.25 million, was supported with £250,000 of Arts Council funding, but late in 2007, the Arts Council announced it was withdrawing this funding to concentrate its funding on other ventures. (Similar fates befell 194 other arts organisations.)[3]

The Drill Hall was home to The Musical Theatre Academy from 2009 to 2011. The triple threat theatre college is now located at Bernie Grant Arts Centre.

In January 2012, RADA acquired the lease of the venue from Central London Arts Ltd, who had run the Drill Hall for 30 years.[2][4] RADA's objectives in acquiring the lease included the possibility of hiring out the central London rehearsal and studio space as a "further opportunity for income generation and sustaining the charity as it continues into its second century of operation."[2] Central London Arts then began trading as Outhouse London, with the intention of continuing to produce large-scale theatre and community-theatre events across London and the UK.[2]

The entire venue is available for hire from RADA.[5] The 200 seat Studio Theatre has been utilised by the BBC as a studio for recording radio shows, such as Cabin Pressure,[6] in front of a live audience.[7]


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