Old Red Lion Theatre
The Old Red Lion Theatre is a fringe theatre, situated above a pub at The Angel, in the London Borough of Islington. It was founded in 1948 as the Old Red Lion Theatre Club.


The pub in itself is one of the oldest in London, having first been built in 1415 in what was then the rural village of Islington in open countryside and fields. A house called Goose Farm and some nearby cattle pens (for herds being driven to Smithfield Market) were the only structures to adjoin it, and St John Street (then called Chester Road) was a country lane.

18th century
In the late 18th century Chester Road became notorious for highwaymen, with patrols being provided to protect those travelling along it at night. At this time descriptions state that the Old Red Lion was a small brick house with three trees in its forecourt, visited by William Hogarth (who portrayed it in the middle distance of his painting "Evening", with the foreground being Sadler's Wells), Samuel Johnson and Thomas Paine (who wrote The Rights of Man in the shade of the trees in its forecourt).

The Old Red Lion was rebuilt in 1899, adding two exits onto different streets. This gave the pub the nickname "the In and Out", since taxicab passengers could avoid paying their fare by entering it through one door and disappearing through the other.

In 1979 a small studio theatre opened on the pub's first floor, giving the pub its present name of the Old Red Lion Theatre Pub, the ORL, or Old Red. This is still in use for new and experimental dramatic work.

Old Red Lion Theatre won the Dan Crawford Pub Theatre Award for 2006.