I first came across the Tea House Theatre about a year ago while I was on a guided tour of the Vauxhall and Nine Elms development project. Our group stopped off for tea there and I made a mental note to come back and investigate more thoroughly as it seemed such an interesting place. So, looking forward to tea and cake again, I went to meet venue manager Jessica Ruano.
The Tea House Theatre is, in fact, a former pub, the Queen Anne, and there’s a whole backstory about that you can read here. It’s a beautiful building with big picture windows on three sides which give it a light and airy feel and it’s in the middle of the historic Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, a five minute walk from the Vauxhall transport hub. It was bought in 2011 by Harry Iggulden, the co-author of the well-known book ‘ A Dangerous Book for Boys’, and he aimed to turn it into a vibrant community hub where culture, in many forms, could thrive.
Firstly, let’s talk about the food; they have a great all-day breakfast selection, including Full English, Scottish and Kedgeree. Lunch offers a variety of choices such as steak, cottage pie, bangers and mash, and Irish Stew as well as a tempting array of double-decker sandwiches and salads. And then of course there’s the cake – browse the cake gallery on their website where you can feast your eyes. All of the cake is made in-house and I tried the peanut butter and jelly sponge – it was soft and moist with very more-ish icing and filling – yummy! Of course I mustn’t forget the tea; there’s a huge selection of loose leaf teas – I had a pot of Darjeeling which was fruity and refreshing.
Now let’s look at the amazing events and entertainment programme which you can enjoy here. There are plays, poetry readings, jazz, soul and funk music with jam sessions, singing for children, film nights, debates, 5-a-side football tournaments, opera, supper clubs and cabaret – an incredible programme with something for all tastes. A small selection of events coming up includes a Shakespeare festival featuring: Venus and Adonis, the Sonnets, the Rape of Lucrece and a debate about the origin of the plays with leading experts. Then there’s a St. George’s Festival on Saturday 25th April with mediaeval fair, sword-fighting tournament, falconry and archery. Last but not least, on election eve 6th May, there’s a debate on how we should, or should not, cast our votes the following day – that promises to be lively!
The Tea House Theatre is a great place to go for a nice breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea, and if you’re out with the kids it’s brilliant too, as it’s really child-friendly and right in the middle of the park. There’s plenty of food for the brain and the soul too, in the wide-ranging events programme. It’s a quite unique place and well worth a visit – thoroughly recommended!