About us

Ovalhouse is a lively theatre on the Kennington Oval, opposite the famous cricket ground.

Ovalhouse has been known for its support for artists - professional and young people - for over 50 years - commissioning new work that responds to today’s social and political issues, and work that reflects the cultural diversity of its local community. 


With a theatre programme in two spaces we commission, co-produce and programme innovative work by early career and established artists, while our participation department provides a full range of programmes from inclusion projects to youth leadership training to supporting young artists. 

We invest in exploration and development, providing a space where artists can develop their creative practice, audiences can encounter new work and see the beginnings of new talent, and young people can use the arts to look at their lives, and develop their creativity and skills. We are funded as an Arts Council NPO organisation.

Following many years of trying to improve building facilities and to ensure a sustainable future, Ovalhouse is now in partnership with the London Borough of Lambeth to develop a new building in Brixton as part of the Council's Somerleyton Road development.

 

The Road to Brixton! Ovalhouse is on the move…​

Our building on Kennington Oval is steeped in history and resonates with the lives and stories of so many people. But we are planning to leave it. Click here to find out more

 

Our History

“a founding father of today's fringe theatre” (The Guardian)

For the past 50 years Ovalhouse has been a home to experimental, radical and overlooked artists seeking to make theatre and performance that speaks to a world beyond the mainstream.

A hotbed of artistic activism in the five decades since we began, Ovalhouse has seen the social and artistic ideals it has aspired to become widely accepted as the model for a better society. We have sheltered social and political movements staffed by the stage and screen stars of the future, pursued an unerring agenda for positive artistic, political and social change and, once, stabled a donkey in the Theatre Upstairs. Ovalhouse stands on a proud history and continues to be a vital home for boundary-pushing art and artists with an eye on the future.

The roots of Ovalhouse can be traced back to the 1930s and its foundations, as Christ Church (Oxford) Clubs, by the graduates of Christchurch College, Oxford. The young people from disadvantaged areas in South London were able to use the space for sports activities and were taken on away days along with skills training which they could use for the future. Since that time Ovalhouse has pioneered enabling forms of education and artistic endeavour.

Do you have an Ovalhouse anecdote or memory to share? Post it on our Oval Fifty page