The Tabard theatre is full of surprises. First of all that it’s there at all. Not every London suburb has its own bijou (100 seat) theatre, and secondly that the productions are consistently so good and so varied for such a small, local theatre.
One minute you see that Phyllis Logan (Downton Abbey) and Kevin McNally (Pirates of the Caribbean) are there being interviewed about their careers in theatre by their son, or that Alan Alda has popped over from Hollywood for the European premier of a play he’s written. The next they’re putting on a production by a young playwright making their debut with a cast fresh out of drama school.
The mix of productions and the quality threshold is largely down to the energy and talent of Tabard Managing Director Simon Reilly, who celebrates ten years at the Tabard this year.
Most managers celebrating their ten year anniversary would open a bottle of champers and take their staff out for a meal perhaps, but this is theatre dahling, so Simon took his staff to an Escape Room in Shepherd’s Bush.
If you don’t know what that is, think Fort Boyard or The Crystal Maze only locked inside built sets, more Laser Quest than RSC. You enter a themed room, a forest glade or Victorian drawing room to solve your murder mystery and have to find your way out using puzzles and clues. Step forward Sandra the resident stage manager, Alec who does front of house and Dave the intern and claim your moment in the spotlight. “We got out in 53 minutes” says Simon proudly.
To read a profile of Simon Reilly, how he got in to theatre, how he wound up in Chiswick and what ambitons he has for theatre in Chiswick in the future, read the profile in the This Is Chiswick section of our website.