Tabard Theatre / Chiswick Playhouse

An indepedent theatre in Chiswick since 1985

The Theatre at the Tabard, previously known as The Chiswick Playhouse and the Tabard theatre, is an intimate, 95 seat studio theatre, close to Turnham Green tube station at 2 Bath Rd, Chiswick, London W4 1LW.

The theatre offers a mix of plays and comedy, as many stand-up comedians find it the perfect venue to try out new material before a tour or a TV show. See what’a on currently here:

It opened in 1985 above the Tabard pub, a popular and historic local landmark, and quickly built a strong reputation for new writing. Over the years the Tabard / Playhouse has played a key role in the development of London Theatre, highly acclaimed for its professional work and extremely popular within the community of West London.

For years Simon Reilly worked as Managing Director, alongside owner Fred Perry. Read more about Simon here. He left for a while to pursue other projects and Fred took over the day to day running of the theatre, rebranded as the Chiswick Playhouse.

In March 2022 the pub landlord Greene King did not renew the lease and offered it out to rent.

It reopened as Theatre at the Tabard in July 2022 after a few months’ period of darkness, and is being run by Simon Reilly, the theatre’s general manager from 2008 – 2019, with his wife Sarah.

READ ALSO: Chiswick Playhouse closes

READ ALSO: Theatre returns to the Tabard

Some of the Tabard / Chiswick Playhouse’s successful past productions

When The Chiswick Calendar started in November 2014 we began making videos about productions at the Tabard. Watch our videos about past productions at the Chiswick Playhouse between November 2014 and June 2017.

Lonely Planet – June 2017

In the 1980s AIDS was a killer for which there was no cure. To find out that you had HIV was to hear your death sentence. Lonely Planet is an endearing, absurdly comical and poignant tale of friendship between two gay men in an American city, whose friends are dying and who are themselves living with the fear that they themselves may test positive for the disease. Bridget Osborne met Aaron Vodovoz, the producer and one of the two actors in the play.

Montagu – May 2017

What more fitting during a general election campaign focused on political leadership, than a satire on the nature of political leadership? Montagu takes place in a field, with the protagonists as a herd of donkeys. Montagu has no interest in politics but is elected leader regardless. He resists the manipulation of ‘visionary’ rivals and becomes quite ruthless as he navigates the two key questions: “How do I stay in power” and “what will be my legacy”? The play was all horribly familiar and uncannily on the money.

The Chainsaw Manicure – May 2017

Two girls Abigail and Frances, share a flat with a distinctly odd flatmate, Gary, whose sole interests appear to be practising the trumpet and cutting things up with his chainsaw. The girls become increasingly alarmed as this madcap farce hurtles towards its calamitous ending. Bridget Osborne talks to the cast.

The Last Tycoon – October 2016

F Scott Fitzgerald’s last and unfinished novel The last Tycoon was made into a film starring Robert de Niro and has also been adapted as a play. Ruby in the Dust Theatre company presented the European premiere of the theatre version at the Tabard. Set in 1930s Hollywood the play deals with Fitzgerald’s favourite themes of love and obsession and is based on true characters. Nikki Ward met director Linnie Reedman.

Broken Strings – September 2016

Actor Steven Arnold, best known for playing Ashley Peacock in Coronation Street, found out that he had been nominated for an ‘Offie’, an Off West End award, for best male actor in Broken Strings, while he was being interviewed by The Chiswick Calendar. His character David finds himself living with his mother in law after his wife Susan dies. He promised her that he would look after her mother Rose, played by another recognisable face from TV drama, Linda Clark. He told Bridget Osborne that he was delighted to have been nominated, especially as he had never trained as a stage actor.

The Superhero – July 2016

Due to a climatic crisis Earth has been plunged into an ice age, nature is out of whack and London is chaos. As mammoths and penguins roam the streets, humans of the rare blood type AB minus have evolved into Superheroes with a vow to protect the vulnerable. Amongst this cold, harsh and irrevocably dangerous environment, fourteen year old Kate falls in love with one such Superhero only to find he is not quite what he seems…. The Playwright Sophie Swithinbank spoke to Dougie Critchley to give the lowdown on this dark comedy with a 21st Century twist.

Walter & Lenny – June 2016

In 1963 the Dean of Chichester Cathedral Dr Walter Hussey wrote to the internationally famous composer Leonard Bernstein to ask if he would write something for the Chichester Festival. The resulting friendship between the cleric and the composer of West Side Story produced the now famous Chichester Psalms and more than 50 years later, inspired the creation of a one man play by Peter McEnery, based on the correspondence between the two men. Peter, who was a founder member of the Royal Shakespeare Company under Sir Peter Hall, was directed by his wife Julia St John. They spoke to Bridget Osborne about the London premier of the play at the Bedford Park Festival and the letters which inspired it.

Sherlock Holmes and The Invisible Thing

Critically acclaimed team Greg Freeman and Ken McClymont returned to the the Tabard Theatre for a brand new tale of Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective saga. A perplexed Inspector Peacock summons Holmes and Watson to the home of Miss Lucy Grendle, the daughter of the late Alfred Grendle, a man who had a somewhat murky past. Miss Lucy Grendle has a problem with vodka… and Sherlock Holmes. Their paths have crossed before and it did not end well. Tension is in the air and it is not just because a murderous Invisible Thing is prowling the house. As the night unfolds, amidst a lethal concoction of a cadaver, origami and alcohol… Sherlock Holmes finally meets his match.

Wastwater – May 2016

The company which performed the highly successful ‘Bluebird’ at the Tabard in 2015 returned with another of Simon Stephens’ plays. Wastwater presents three separate vignettes of relationships linked by the characters. Set near Heathrow, the first scenario witnesses the awkward goodbyes of a foster mother and son who is leaving for Canada. The second is about an illicit affair and the third about an illegal adoption. All the characters are facing huge upheaval in their lives and are going through emotional turmoil. The emotions range from dark humour through desire and pain to terror. The cast included Mark Griffin, who was Trojan in the ’90s TV series Gladiators.

A Flea in her Ear – April 2016

A gloriously mad farce by the undisputed master of French farce, Georges Feydeau. Raymonde Chandebise sends a letter from a ‘secret’ admirer suggesting a romantic rendezvous at a local hotel in order to test her husband’s fidelity. What follows is a string of mix-ups involving suspicious spouses, hotel liaisons, crossed wires and slapstick comedy.

The Young Visiters – March 2016

Written by nine year old Daisy Ashford (hence the spelling mistake) and published by J. M. Barrie, The Young Visiters has been cult viewing since it was published in 1919. Though her spelling might be faulty, Ashford’s eye for adult absurdity and her comic timing were spot on. High japes and fake flowers, balls and boats, ice creams and princes – a child’s-eye view of what fools grown-ups make of themselves when social-climbing, falling in love and just generally getting by.

Sigurd the Dragon Slayer – December 2015

The 2015 Christmas production at the Tabard told the story of a young Viking prince Sigurd as he set off on an adventure fraught with peril. A compelling story for children of all ages with music, dance and puppets.

The Drunken City – December 2015

An encounter with a handsome stranger causes havoc on a hen night. Fuelled with drink and egged on by her bridesmaids, the bride starts to consider whether marriage is such a good idea. Director Vik Sivalingham told The Chiswick Calendar that Canadian writer Adam Bock’s play makes us all consider what happiness means to us.

Proof – September 2015

Proof is an award winning play by an award winning playwright. Author David Auburn won a Pulitzer Prize and the play won the Tony Award for Best Play in 2001. It’s about Catherine, a 25 year old woman who is looking after her brilliant mathematician father Robert, who’s losing his mind. As she grieves for him she has to contend with her controlling sister who jets in from New York and takes over, and her father’s former student, intent on searching her father’s notebooks in the hope of finding a new mathematical proof. Moving, funny and life-affirming.

Simpatico – September 2015

Simpatico is a play seething with resentment and revenge. Written by the hugely prolific American playwright Sam Shepard (award winning actor, film director and writer of some 50 plays) it’s classic Film Noir Americana. Director Will Birch tokd Nick Raikes about the play, which opens with a falling out amongst thieves.

Bruises – August 2015

Nadia Cavelle’s debut play ‘Bruises’ follows the lives of two best friends, and explored the topic of sex work. The Chiswick Calendar’s Nick Raikes spoke to writer, Nadia Cavelle and cast member, Eva-Jane Willis.

Shakespeare’s R&J – June 2015

After outstanding reviews in Stratford-upon-Avon, ‘Shakespeare’s R&J’, came to Chiswick. Director Christopher Harvey spoke to us about this adaptation of Romeo and Juliet.

The Tabard celebrates 30 years

Managing Director of the Tabard Theatre Simon Reilly talking to The Chiswick Calendar at the 2015 Bedford Park Festival Green Days weekend – June 2015. The Tabard Theatre notched up 30 years of entertaining Chiswickians in 2015. The theatre is part of the cultural landscape of Chiswick and always takes part in the Bedford Park Festival. We spoke to Simon Reilly at his stall during the Green Days weekend.

Fondly Remembered – June 2015

As part of the Bedford Park Festival, Fondly Remembered, a very funny new play by Gareth Armstrong, was be performed at the Tabard Theatre by a group of actors who live in Chiswick and between them have notched up nearly 250 years (and it’s a small cast!) of experience in TV and theatre – everything from Z Cars to Shakespeare. How fitting that the play is about the ageing members of a theatre company getting back together to plan the memorial service of one of their colleagues, unearthing as they do rivalries and jealousies that go back fifty years.

Bluebird – May 2015

Bluebird follows Jimmy, a mini cab driver, over the course of one night in London, exploring the city’s A-roads, back alleys and the lives that dwell around them. Jimmy listens as his ‘fares’ tell their individual stories in the back of his Nissan Bluebird. He hears from a father mourning the murder of his daughter, a bouncer’s memory of a violent night at his club, a disillusioned engineer of London’s underground, as well as, finally, Jimmy’s estranged wife Claire. Because as it turns out, Jimmy’s own is the darkest story of all. Bluebird’s writer Simon Stephens is most famous for his play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, for which he won the Olivier Award for Best New Play in 2013. Selina Giles, producer and the actor who plays Jimmy’s estranged wife in Bluebird, talked to Bridget Osborne about the production.

Wilde Without The Boy – April 2015

Gerard Logan is an RSC actor and Olivier nominee who in 2011 won the Edinburgh Festival’s award for Best Solo Show. He teamed up with the same director, Gareth Armstrong, to present another solo show: two one act plays surrounding the imprisonment of Oscar Wilde. “Wilde Without the Boy” is a dramatization of “De Profundis”, the bitterly passionate letter Oscar Wilde wrote to his lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, from his cell in Reading gaol. “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” is Wilde’s is a poem narrating the execution of Charles Thomas Wooldridge. Gerard Logan told The Chiswick Calendar’s Nick Raikes why he found Oscar Wilde “inspiring” and his work “incredibly moving”.

Blush of Dogs – March 2015

A series of vicious civil wars has ended. A small city state half way across the world rebuilds itself in the ashes. The victorious King exiles his rival to the throne, his own brother, to a remote land far from the kingdom. The Queen, lover of her husband’s brother, raises in his absence the 3 young daughters he abandoned on his journey as she represses the love she harbours for the banished prince. The Fragen Theatre Company presented a new version of an ancient Greek story. Artistic director Roland Reynolds talked to The Chiswick Calendar and wondered if it might all be a bit much for leafy Chiswick.

Time of My Life – March 2015

Actor John Pickard talked to The Chiswick Calendar about Alan Ayckbourn’s play Time of My Life. Known best from TV roles in Hollyoaks and 2 point 4 Children, he played the elder son in this production, trying to keep the family business going and struggling to keep his marriage. Recorded in rehearsal, with the actors improvising the scenes.

The Lost Happy Endings – December 2014

The Tabard’s Christmas show was an adaptation of Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy’s book The Lost Happy Endings, which incorporates traditional fairy stories within the framework of a new fairy tale. Nick Raikes talked to the actors in the fabulous forest set, designed by Lily Faith Knight. Original music by Mark Webber.

Sheltered – November 2014

An act of charity or something more sinister? A family invite a homeless person to Christmas lunch. This new play by a new playwright was inspired by a character Chiswick residents walked past under the railway bridge every day. Writer Greg A Smith talks about Sheltered.