Tea House Theatre

Winner of Time Out Love London Awards 2014

We are based in an old Victorian public house that opened in 1886 on the site of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens; immortalised as the ‘Vanity Fair’ in Thackeray’s eponymous novel.

We serve some of the best loose leaf teas available, proper sandwiches and homemade cakes; not to mention the best full English breakfast in London. Our teas have individual subtle flavours which would be overpowered by the instant, coarse, hit of coffee, so we do not sell it.

We make our own marmalade and jams, all for sale by the jar and all our teas can be bought by the ounce. Our meat comes from our local butcher and our fruit and vegetables from the local market gardens around us.

We are trying to be different. We will not hurry you. If you visit us on your lunch break, then have one, you will be more productive in the afternoon. If you want to have a meeting, we will not disturb you. If you are ‘working from home’, we have wifi. If you have children, we have highchairs, a chest of toys, and milkshakes. We always have the daily papers, so please, relax, and share in what we are trying to create, take a load off, and have a cuppa.

Interview with Resident Poet Alain English

               Alain English, Resident Poet

               Alain English, Resident Poet

We at the Tea House Theatre are incredibly lucky to have Alain English as our Resident Poet. He has been hosting his series 'Paper Tiger Poetry' for the past three years, and it takes place the third Friday of every month at the Tea House. He also performs in numerous events... well, maybe I'll just let him speak for himself.

I sent Alain a few questions, and he was kind enough to humour me by answering them as requested.

You'll see.  


 1) Please  tell us your life story in the form of a limerick.

An actor called Alain liked writing
In between the times when he was acting
He had a great time
Using metre and rhyme
For the words and ideas kept on coming

2) What inspired you to join forces with the Tea House?

It was back in the summer of 2011.  Harry Iggulden (the Tea House director) directed me in a workshop production of "Henry V", for the Lambeth County Fair in South London.  At this point the Tea House had not even opened yet and we rehearsed across the road for our production, using costumes on loan from the National Theatre.

I remember having an almost rapport with Harry upon meeting him and a couple of months after the show, I dropped by the Tea House Theatre just to catch up with him.  I looked round at the place with its location and its ambience and I thought 'this would be a great place for a poetry night'.  Harry agreed with me and that afternoon we worked out the details - he would provide the venue, I would provide the poets.  After some brainstorming we came up with the name 'Paper Tiger Poetry'.  The night has been running for over three years ever since.

I will usually open up the night with a poem of my own or someone else's and then we proceed.  The night is a mix of featured performers, who may be established or up-and-coming on the poetry circuit, and open-mic.  In our open-mic, anyone can come up to the stage and they have five minutes to do whatever poems they like.  Competition is not important here so much as freedom of expression.  Our featured poets in the past include Anthony Anaxagorous, Kat Francois, and Paul Lyalls.

As well as running Paper Tiger Poetry, I also take part in other events at the Tea House Theatre.  I have been doing their Burns and Shakespeare Suppers for a couple of years now, as well as contributing to the Fire Festival and St George's Festival.  Most recently, Harry and myself have been taking part in Holdfast Theatre's series of Staged Readings, where we have done (so far) 'Beowulf' and Dante's 'Divine Comedy'.

3) How would you describe your poetic style?

I have been writing and performing poetry in London for nearly eight years now, and a lot of what I do is influenced by the spoken word scene around me.  I tend to write about Asperger's Syndrome and mental health, and also other topics such as politics, science fiction and snooker.

Performance-wise, I have a theatre background and a pretty well-developed voice so I tend to go without a microphone and move around the stage, performing many of my pieces from memory.  Here is a sample (VIDEO).

4)  Is the pen mightier than the sword? Why?

Yes, the pen is mightier.  The sword can only kill, whereas the pen can communicate, inspire, educate and connect with other people.  The pen can do so much more.  That is why it is mightier.
5) Tell us about your upcoming projects in acrostic form.



Open-mic -

Sonnets, poetry and plays
Happening in April days
All attend our gracious author
Knight of literature and theatre
Entertainment and debating
Singing, dancing, celebrating
Playing all throughout the week
Engaging work that makes you think
Acting out the famous speeches
Reading through the soulful sonnets
Everyone come down and join us!

Flock to see our knights do battle
Exhale in wonder at their mettle
St George will surely win the day
Tea and cakes served every day
Inside the lovely Tea House Theatre
Vauxhall's hub of lore and culture
Accessible to everyone
Link up with us and join the fun!

6) Please tell us your life's motto in haiku form.

Respecting myself
And mindful among others
Living peacefully

Follow Alain English on Twitter and Facebook and visit his website. Come to the Shakespeare Festival 2015 to see more of his work!