Steep stairs topples Cock Tavern theatre

Curtains for award winning playhouse after staircase deemed fire hazard

Productions at The Cock Tavern theatre pub in Kilburn High Road have come to a standstill after the 110-year-old stairs leading to the playhouse were deemed a safety risk.

A ‘tip-off’ to Brent Council which detailed serious safety concerns over the venue’s stairs lead to an emergency inspection, and it is now curtains for the venue.

During a visit to the venue on Wednesday (6), the council noted that the two century-old staircases, one which leads to auditorium and the other serving as an emergency exit, are both ‘too steep and too short’.

But as the venue, which won the Dan Crawford Pub Theatre Award in 2009, does not have the cash to fix the stairs they have been forced to close for good.

The 56-seat theatre was also rapped for not having an entertainment licence.

Its current showing of the world premier of a Cavalier for Milady, by Tennessee Williams will be transferred to the Charing Cross Theatre in the autumn.

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A spokesman for the theatre said: “Due to sudden licensing negotiations, the Cock Tavern Theatre has suspended sales to all shows as we cannot guarantee when performances will recommence.

“We are doing everything we can to get our productions back on as soon as possible. We are now contacting all customers to refund and reallocate tickets.”

Speaking about the decision, the Cock Tavern theatre’s Artistic Director Adam Spreadbury-Maher said: “The Cock will continue to produce world-class theatre, so stay tuned.”

A spokesman for Brent council said: “An inspector visited the premises and observed multiple issues, noting that the premises did not have an entertainment licence. This can be addressed by temporary orders, but a further visit today confirmed very serious issues relating to public safety - that is why it’s been closed.

These include inadequate escape routes, poor seating and an unsuitable staircase. In the event of fire it would be hard to get out, putting lives at risk.”

As well as fixing the steep staircases and creating adequate fire exit routes the pub will need to fork out �450 for an entertainment licence.

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