Today’s Riverside Studios stands on the former site of a Victorian iron works, which was converted into a film studio in 1933. Many classic films were made there, such as The Seventh Veil (1945) with James Mason, The Happiest Days of Your Life with Margaret Rutherford (1950) and Father Brown (1954) with Alec Guinness.
In 1954, the studio was taken over by BBC Television and became home to many of their most iconic programmes, including Hancock’s Half Hour (1957-60), Quatermass and the Pit (1958-59) and Doctor Who (1964-68).
Following the BBC’s departure in 1974, the building became an arts centre in 1976, launching with a vibrant community festival. Under the artistic directorship of playwright and director Peter Gill, Riverside Studios quickly acquired a reputation for excellence and innovation with landmark productions of The Cherry Orchard with Judy Parfitt and The Changeling with Brian Cox (both 1978).
A mixed programme of international theatre, dance, visual art, television, comedy and music was established early on and has succeeded in bringing the world to west London. The variety of our collaborators over the years – including Amy Winehouse, Benjamin Zephaniah, Yoko Ono, Samuel Beckett, Michael Clark, David Hockney, Lenny Henry, Graeae, David Bowie and Black Theatre Cooperative – reflects Riverside’s purpose as an intersection for the arts.
The original Riverside Studios closed for redevelopment in 2014 and our new building opened on the same site in 2019.
Some Programming Highlights
As You Like It with Alun Armstrong. Directed by Peter Gill (1976)
The Dead Class presented by Tadeusz Kantor and Cricot 2 Theatre (1976)
The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists directed by William Gaskill (1978)
St. Mark's Gospel devised, directed and performed by Alec McCowen (1978)
Measure for Measure with Helen Mirren (1979)
Mama Dragon by Black Theatre Co-operative (1980)
Rush by Michael Clark (1982)
Set & Reset by Trisha Brown (1983)
The Biko Inquest with Albert Finney (1984)
Playing the Right Tune by Benjamin Zephaniah (1985)
Twelfth Night with Richard Briers and Frances Barber. Directed by Kenneth Branagh (1988)
Lenny Henry (1988)
Hamlet with Alan Rickman and Geraldine McEwan (1992)
Twyla Tharp (1994)
The Seven Streams of the River Ota directed by Robert Lepage (1994)
Antony and Cleopatra with Vanessa Redgrave (1994)
Peter Sellers Is Dead with Sanjeev Bhaskar, Nina Wadia, Kulvinder Ghir and Meera Syal (1995)
Phèdre with Sheila Gish. Directed by Deborah Warner (2002)
Scaramouche Jones with Pete Postlethwaite (2002)
Mnemonic by Complicite (2003)
The Exonerated with Stockard Channing, Danny Glover and Alanis Morissette (2006)
Bill Bailey: Tinselworm (2007)
Julian Clary (2010)
Salad Days presented by Tête à Tête (2010/11 and 2012/13)
Troilus and Cressida presented by The Wooster Group and The Royal Shakespeare Company (2010)
A Round-Heeled Woman with Sharon Gless (2011)
Mies Julie by Yaël Farber (2013)
Happy Days by Samuel Beckett with Lisa Dwan. Directed by Sir Trevor Nunn (2021)
Ava: The Secret Conversations by and starring Elizabeth McGovern (2022)
Great Expectations with Eddie Izzard (2022)