Phoenix Arts Club reopens with packed programme of live shows

Performers including Holly Stars, Ru Paul’s Drag Race’s Joe Black, Flo & Joan, Simon Brodkin, Iain Stirling, Luke Kempner, Glenn Moore, Jenny Éclair and Robin Askwith are lined up for Phoenix Arts Club in London’s West End

Phoenix Arts Club

Theatreland bar and cabaret venue Phoenix Arts Club is this week resuming its programme of musical theatre, drag, burlesque, comedy and other cabaret.

The West End club, which reopened this week with social distancing, has brought back its weekly show featuring the stars of London cabaret, Friday Night in Soho.

Every Thursday, Showreel Live offers a chance to see musical theatre newcomers perform with a West End musical director – and a chance for the performers to be filmed for their showreel.

Saturdays will see the arrival of a new show, The Saturday Supershow with Michael Twaits & Special Guests, featuring comedy, cabaret, drag, musical theatre and other entertainment, hosted by legendary cabaret host Michael Twaits with Sarah Rose on piano.

The season includes star names such as Simon Brodkin, Iain Stirling, Flo & Joan, Glamrou, Luke Kempner, Glenn Moore, Ru Paul’s Drag Race’s Joe Black, Jenny Éclair and Robin Askwith.

Holly Stars, the writer and star of hit drag comedy Death Drop at the Garrick Theatre, will host monthly “camp cabaret” Time of the Month starting on 31 May, promising comedy, chat, games and stellar drag performances. The line-up for May includes feminist poetry icon Barbara Brownskirt, unforgettable drag thing CYRO and the eternally glamorous Asia Thorne.

Emerging talent will also be showcased such as an evening of music by David Shopland and Callum Hughes on 27 June. They will share extracts from new musicals that they are developing, with a cast including Matthew Quinn, Jo Napthine, Edward Baruwa, Matt Wycliffe, Emma Louise Hoey and Siubhan Harrison who is starring alongside Louise Dearman in Wonderful Town at Opera Holland Park in July.

Dating back to 1988, the Phoenix Arts Club – located in the basement below the Phoenix Theatre in Charing Cross Road – continued to provide live streamed entertainment after it was forced to close due to lockdown in December.

For now, it is operating at reduced capacity of 70 seats to allow for social distancing but will return to full capacity when the easing of restrictions allows it.

Peter Dunbar, the club’s development and marketing director, said: “The whole Phoenix team has worked incredibly hard to be one of the first venues to reopen in London’s West End, making continued improvements to the venue, devising new food and drinks offerings and booking in this stellar events season.

“We’ve taken a big risk in opening our doors and many arts venues have understandably remained closed. The logistics for putting on a theatre show is so complex, and the lack of government guidance and uncertainty on whether we’ll be asked to close again has meant many are mothballing their programming until the winter.

“As a grassroots venue, we’re putting all shows on sale socially distanced at 70 seats until we’re told with certainty we can open to full capacity, and many shows start at just £5 a ticket. By reopening, we are providing a platform in getting artists back to live work, many of whom haven’ performed for over a year.”

Full listings at phoenixartsclub.com.

About Mark Ludmon 248 Articles
Mark Ludmon has been a journalist for over 20 years, specialising in theatre as well as hospitality and drinks after starting out on regional daily newspapers. He has an MA in early modern literature and history, focusing on Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, and a theatre studies MA from Royal Central School of Speech & Drama. He has also been on the judging panel for the Olivier Awards. He can be found tweeting as @MarkLudmon and writing about theatre at https://markludmon.com.