21 Places to see performance art in London

It’s official, the night-club is dead! RIP Jägerbomb deals, dodgy late-night trips through that barren in-between land serviced by the night buses, and dodgy kebabs at 4am. With the increase of drinking prices, higher cover charges, and heavier tuition fees; Londoners have moved away from expensive nights in the back-rooms of pubs onto other incredible adventures. If you’re done with the dancefloor, it might follow that you’re pining for someone else to turn your night into a performance. It’s true, darling, that all the world’s a stage; but – where are your players? Good news! London performance art is booming. And, we’ve found 21 places your players are hiding.

 

1. The Bill Murray (Comedy)

The sister to the Camden Head, the Bill Murray’s comedy acts are weird, wild, and firmly on the fringe. Shun the mainstream and head here, if you’re looking for that off-the-wall experience.

The Bill Murray

 

2. The Hideaway (Open mic music)

Russian Roulette style open-mic situation. Turn up, sign up, play, or simply take in the talent. The bar has a kitchen, and cocktails, for when you need a bit of Dutch courage.

The Hideaway

 

3. Paper Dress Vintage (retro music and events)

Paper dress is the peak of retro London performance art, in all shapes and forms. They have an extensive event program of weird and wonderful events, from jazz classes to good old rock n roll gigs.

Paper Dress Vintage

 

4. Duckie (Intersectional cabaret)

Duckie are the daddies of queer cabaret. Your favourite established queer performer no doubt grew up here. Their Saturday night parties are a love-letter to progressive and diverse entertainment.

Duckie

 

5. That’s What She Said (Spoken Word)

As implied by the genius moniker, That’s What She Said are purveyors of London performance art, in the form of spoken word entirely from women. If that isn’t enough, they’re also a charity, meaning all your entrance money will go toward helping other women writers.

That's What She Said

 

6. Queer As Jokes (LGBTQIA+ Comedy)

We know we’ve already used the Bill Murray, but we thought we’d stop to highlight one of their nights. Queer As Jokes focuses on representational sex-life comedy, from members of the community and allies. Great for when you’re looking for down to earth, real-life laughs.

Queer As Jokes

 

7. Bang Said The Gun (Poetry)

Bang Said The Gun credit themselves for making London performance art-poetry cool again. Whether your take on their mantra, it’s hard to deny their legendary status, great for when you like your blank verse with a bite.

Bang Said The Gun

 

8. Bad Luck Cabaret (Cabaret)

“Pint-sized vixen” Laurie Black brings you the best in alternative cabaret. If you’re bored of preened and perfect showgirls, this night is for you. Laurie tours her cabaret internationally, so if you’re not in London, give the link a click. Bad luck could come your way, and very soon!

Bad Luck Cabaret

 

9. Suspiciously Cheap Comedy (Comedy)

If you’re broke, this London performance art-comedy is a must. It does what it says on the tin, and provides you with big-names for small bucks. Excellent when you need a break from the sadness of beans-on-toast.

Suspiciously Cheap Comedy

 

10. The Glory (Drag Cabaret)

Hot on the high heels of Duckie, The Glory offer events that are usually tied together with a drag theme. When you’re looking for an alternative cabaret in the East of London that will capture the exaggerated spirit of drag, this one’s for you.

The Glory

 

11. The Comedy Store (Comedy)

No doubt the most infamous on this list, The Comedy Store is a guaranteed good night for your mainstream laughs. With gigs every night, it’s a good choice when you need somewhere to take the visiting family.

The Comedy Store

 

12. Hackney ShowRoom (Theatre)

If you’re looking for theatre with an edge, Hackney ShowRoom has you covered. Committed to giving new artists a voice, head down and take in what might be the next-big-thing in London performance art.

Hackney Showroom

 

13. The Finsbury (everything)

Rather confusingly, the Finsbury isn’t in Finsbury Park. Originally it was, but since it opened the pub has upped sticks and settled in Harringay, a little further down the road. It has a dedicated back room, and is a good choice when you want wildcard entertainment.

The Finsbury

 

14. Up The Creek (Comedy)

The comedy kings of South London, Up The Creek have a professional-grade show every night. Stop here if you’re determined to laugh till your sides ache.

Up The Creek

 

15. Soho Theatre (Performance Art)

Soho theatre is London’s most vibrant for cabaret, comedy, and performance art. It’s also the first place you’ll be able to see many a touring show, as a number of genre-smashing productions in Soho Theatre have gone on to great heights.

Soho Theatre

 

16. Outside the Box (Comedy)

Outside the Box holds the prestigious title of being voted 4th best comedy club in the UK, according to The Guardian. Expect big names performing in-progress Fringe and tour sets, in a small situation. Excellent for when you need to find your next big comedy thing.

Outside The Box

 

17. The Poetry Brothel (Poetry)

The poetry brothel is a high concept immersive poetry experience. Pay a girl or boy of your choice with tokens for a private poetry reading. It combines words, music, burlesque and cocktails for a truly memorable night.

The Poetry Brothel

 

18. The Double R Club (Cabaret)

The Double R club is London’s only David Lynch themed club night. Here, cabaret, burlesque and opera all take a Lynchian twist, under the watchful eye of Emcee-echoing Benjamin Louche. You’ll be in heaven, and fine, soon.

The Double R Club

 

19. The Poetry Cafe (Poetry)

The Poetry cafe in Covent Garden is great if you want a little more daylight in your London performance art. They hold a whole host of events, including poetry slams and open mics; and plus – they have coffee too.

The Poetry Cafe

 

20. The Troy Bar (reggae Open Mic)

The kings of reggae the Troy Bar hold a specific reggae-style open mic every Tuesday. Chill, relax, and sing from your lion-heart.

The Troy Bar

 

21. Cellar Door (Everything above, and more)

30s Berlin mixed with a dive bar, Cellar Door is nestled below Aldwych. They have everything from jazz to poetry to comedy to cocktails, which makes it an excellent choice when you’re feeling indecisive.

Cellar Door

 

Dedicate to your new night out? Tell us which night you’re looking forward to attending. Then if you’re into a bargain, don’t forget to check out Offer Parade, the home of offer to buy shopping. Negotiate, make deals, and save your coins for your precious pass-times, whatever you choose to do.