Exterior of the theatre
England, United Kingdom
|Public transit||London Bridge|
The Menier Chocolate Factory is a 180-seat off-West End theatre, which comprises a restaurant, bar and rehearsal rooms.
It is located in a former 1870s Menier Chocolate Company factory in Southwark Street, a major street in the London Borough of Southwark, central south London, England, some 2.5 km from the theatrical West End. The theatre stages plays and musicals, live music and stand-up comedy. According to the Evening Standard, it is "one of the most dynamic fringe venues in London".
The French company Menier Chocolate Company expanded overseas and built a five-storey factory and warehouse of brick with stone dressings in London between 1865 and 1874. It was listed Grade II in 1996.
The Menier Chocolate Factory was opened in 2004 in its current incarnation, the building having been derelict since the 1980s. It is run by artistic director David Babani. In 2005, the theatre received the Peter Brook/Empty Space Up and Coming Venue Award. In the same year, he and co-founder Danielle Tarento jointly won the Evening Standard Milton Shulman Award for Outstanding Newcomer. Tarento left in 2006 to pursue a solo producing career, and was replaced by General Manager Thomas Siracusa.
In 2007 the Chocolate Factory production of the Stephen Sondheim musical Sunday in the Park with George won five Olivier Awards, including Best Actor in a Musical for Daniel Evans and Best Actress in a Musical for Jenna Russell. The pair went on to perform the lead roles when the production transferred to Studio 54 on Broadway in February 2008.
In the 2009 Olivier Awards, Douglas Hodge won the trophy for Best Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of drag queen Zaza in La Cage aux Folles. The production also won the Best Musical Revival category.
In 2010, the Chocolate Factory productions of A Little Night Music and La Cage aux Folles opened on Broadway, the former starring Catherine Zeta Jones and Angela Lansbury and the latter starring Douglas Hodge (from the original London production) and Kelsey Grammer. At the Tony Awards 2010 the shows won in the following categories: Best Leading Actress in a Musical – Catherine Zeta Jones for A Little Night Music; Best Leading Actor in a Musical – Douglas Hodge for La Cage aux Folles; Best Director of a Musical – Terry Johnson for La Cage aux Folles; Best Musical Revival – La Cage aux Folles.
The theatre continues to produce a mixture of musical and play revivals, new writing and comedy.