“ Address: 16 Chenies Street / London WC1E 7EX / England „
I recently had the pleasure of attending a music concert at the Drill Hall in London. Of course the first thing I did when I returned home was to suggest the venue be given its own listing on Dooyoo so that I could review it!
~~~What is the Drill Hall?~~~
Built in 1882, the building was originally a drill hall for the Bloomsbury Rifles. However since then it has had many different purposes. In 1977, the current incarnation of the Drill Hall opened its doors and since then it has been a venue for theatre and performance. According to the website it specializes in the 'unusual, unexpected and daring' side of art and theatre, and it has also established itself as 'the UK's leading producer and presenter of lesbian, gay and queer performance'.
~~~Where is it and how can I get there?~~~
The Drill Hall is on Chenies Street off Tottenham Court Road in Bloomsbury, in the centre of London. Due to its location I would not advise travelling by car as traffic and parking may be a problem, but the area is very well served by public transport. Goodge Street Station is only two minutes' walk away from the venue, and that's not an exaggeration! Warren Street and Tottenham Court Road Stations are also only 10 minutes' walk away, and having walked this I can advise you that it is a flat and easy walk along pavements, and it is impossible to get lost! Euston Station is also within 10-15 minutes walking distance.
~~~What facilities does it have?~~~
The venue has two theatres. The main theatre seats 200 people in seven long, slightly curved rows. The stage is not raised and the seats are tiered so everyone has a good view looking down on the performance. I sat on the back row and was very pleased with the view, and thrilled that there were just six rows between me and the stage! The seats are quite small but reasonably comfortable. I also found that the sound was quite good, though I wouldn't have minded it being a bit louder.
The second theatre can seat up to 50 people and has casual chairs and sofas in it. It is described as 'deliciously intimate' by the website! In addition to the two theatres there are also four smaller studios and four meeting rooms, all of which can be hired out.
The Drill Hall also has its own bar. This is quite a small room which is linked to the main theatre. It is a bit dark and depressing and has a few uncomfortable bistro-style chairs and tables, along with a few stools. The bar prices are quite high though not as extortionate as in some places. You will probably be looking at around £6 for a beer and a soft drink. The bar doesn't serve any food apart from packets of crisps and nuts.
With regards to toilets, the venue doesn't have many. There is one large disabled toilet on the ground floor and two non-disabled ones up some stairs. None of these were particularly clean!
~~~What's the surrounding area like?~~~
If you're arriving ahead of time for the performance and are looking for somewhere to eat then you have plenty of options along Tottenham Court Road. We ate at Hamburger Union, from which you can literally see the Drill Hall. It does nice handmade burgers, chips, salads, ribs and milkshakes for around £10 per head. Alternatively there are various fast food outlets such as KFC, a lot of pubs offering good meal deals, and some more up-market places serving Italian food or Japanese sushi/noodles.
If you fancy a spot of shopping before attending the performance you can find some interesting shops along Tottenham Court Road. For the men there are seemingly hundreds of electronics shops, and for us girls there is Muji, Confetti, Next Home and Paperchase.
~~~Would I go back?~~~
I'd definitely be happy to go back to the Drill Hall. It is quite easy to get to, it has good restaurants and shops nearby, and the main theatre is a really cosy, intimate space which makes you feel as if you are one of the lucky few getting to see the performance! It's not often you get the chance to see performances in such a small space with so little distance separating you from the performers, so it's a great experience.
A theatre and arts centre in Bloomsbury located in the centre of London.