Upstairs at the Gatehouse is an award winning London Fringe Theatre with a varied programme of drama, musicals and fringe theatre productions. Ovation, the in-house company, produces several shows each year at Upstairs at the Gatehouse and has been described as one of the best fringe theatre companies in London.
Upstairs at the Gatehouse
Highgate Village, London, N6 4BD
Box Office: 020 8340 3488
Tube #1: Highgate (Northern Line High Barnet branch - 13 minute walk – zone 3), exit 3. Cross Archway Road then walk up and to the end of Southwood Lane. Look to the right and you will see The Gatehouse Pub, a large mock-Tudor building on a roundabout. Entrance to the theatre is through the pub.
Tube #2: Archway (Northern Line – High Barnet branch - plus a steep hill walk for 20 minutes OR a 5 minute bus ride - Zone 2&3). Turn left out of the main exit and left into Highgate Hill. Take either the 143, 210, or 271 up the hill to Highgate Village from Bus stop E.
143 (Archway - East Finchley - Brent Cross)
210 (Finsbury Park - Golders Green - Brent Cross)
214 (Highgate - Kentish Town - Camden - Angel - Old Street - Liverpool Street)
271 (Highgate - Highbury & Islington - Old Street - Liverpool Street))
Free after noon in residents parking bays and pay and display bays. Parking is permitted on single yellow lines on weekdays after 6.30pm and all day on weekends (please check the roadside signs). The small space immediately outside the theatre is for loading and unloading ONLY.
Of all the inns and pubs in Highgate, The Gatehouse is probably the oldest. Its nineteenth century owners claimed that there had been a licensed building on the site since 1337, although nothing can be proven as licensing by justices did not commence until 1552. At that time there were five inns licensed in Highgate although none of them were actually named. The earliest mention of The Gatehouse, in the licensing records, is 1670 when an Edward Cutler made an application to the borough of St. Pancras.
One curious fact about The Gatehouse was that the borough boundary between Middlesex and London ran through the building. When the hall was used as a courtroom, a rope divided the sessions to make sure prisoners didn’t escape to another authority’s area. The boundary problem continued as the names changed, most recently with Camden and Haringey sharing the building. In 1993 the border was moved a few feet to allow one licensing authority overall control and The Gatehouse is now the most northerly pub in Camden.
From its days next to the toll gate, through its use as a meeting house, The Gatehouse has had a chequered history. Byron, Cruikshank and Dickens all used its services and the Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution’s inaugural meeting took place in the pub on 16th January 1839.
At the turn of the last century, The Gatehouse was famous all over London for its “shilling ordinaries”, gigantic lunches which filled many a Victorian stomach. In 1905 the building was renovated in the mock Tudor style that remains today.
The auditorium that now houses the theatre was opened in 1895 as “a place suitable for Balls, Cinderellas and Concerts” and its various uses have included a Music Hall, a Cinema, Masonic Lodge and a venue for amateur dramatics. In the sixties a jazz and folk club featured, amongst others, the Crouch End All Stars and, on one famous occasion, Paul Simon (of Simon and Garfunkel fame).
It took over a hundred years to turn the Highgate Hall (as it was called in 1895) into the Village’s first theatrical auditorium. We hope the Victorian residents would have approved.
Officially London’s top theatre – we’re 446ft above sea level!