Idea Store - Stages of Half Moon

Stages of Half Moon

Celebrating the rich heritage of Half Moon Theatre

Exhibition and events: 12 January - 3 April 2017

From its inception in 1972, Half Moon Theatre has played a key role in the development of the theatre sector and in its early years was responsible for radical, politically charged productions including Steven Berkoff's Sink the Belgrano and Frances de la Tour as a female Hamlet. Though the parent company closed in 1990, the young people's section continues to thrive in Limehouse as an independent charity and the UK's leading professional, small-scale young people's venue and touring company.
An award from the Heritage Lottery Fund 'Young Roots' programme in 2015 enabled the company to work with young people to explore the theatre's history from 1972 to 2016. The resulting Stages of Half Moon exhibition will now be hosted by Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives and features previously unseen original photographs, programmes and other documents celebrating the theatre's rich past across the three Tower Hamlets buildings it has occupied - 27 Alie Street in Whitechapel, 213 Mile End Road (now the Half Moon pub) and its current base at 43 White Horse Road. The exhibition was researched extensively in the collections here at Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives, where we hold a large number of original programmes.

You can also check out the exhibition online via its dedicated website - - which includes interviews with over 100 people who have been involved with the company in various capacities over the years: artistic, backstage and administrative; as an audience member or youth participant.

Stages of Half Moon is a continuing project and anyone who has a connection to the company is welcome to get in touch. Anyone keen to contribute personal stories, photographs, reviews, design sketches and programmes should email
Exhibition Launch
Thursday 12 January, 6:00pm - 7:30pm
All are welcome to attend the launch which will feature an introduction to the exhibition and the company from the present theatre's Director, Chris Elwell. Michael Irving, co-founder of the Half Moon Theatre, will speak about the theatre's early days, how and why it was formed, and will present an informal performance of the opening scene of the opening play from 1972, In the Jungle of the Cities.
To tie in with this exhibition, Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives is programming a series of free talks during the first three months of 2017, highlighting the rich and varied history of theatre in the East End. Further details will be announced in the New Year.

Theatre Heritage Day
Saturday 4 February, 2:00 - 4:30pm
Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives

Join us for a packed afternoon of talks on different aspects of theatre history in the East End. Our distinguished speakers are:

Free, no booking required.

Women in East End Yiddish Theatre
Thursday 23 March, 6:30 - 7:30pm
Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
Join David Mazower for this talk exploring the role immigrant women played in the development of Yiddish theatre in the East End. Women were a key part of the Yiddish theatre's appeal, whether as chorus girls, music hall singers, dramatic actresses, or running their own theatre companies.  Talented, independent and unconventional, their personal lives and relationships were followed as closely as their stage careers.  David is a BBC journalist, author of Yiddish Theatre in London and curated a major exhibition on the subject for The Jewish Museum London. Free, no booking required.