Shop Front Theatre

“This space has the value that Stratford’s Theatre Royal East gave to theatre in the 1960s viz Joan Littlewood. A vital part of Coventry’s contribution to creativity.” Audience Member

The Shop Front Theatre in Coventry was an old fish and chip shop restaurant, once called Fishy Moore’s, located on the corner of Queen Victoria Road and the bottom of City Arcade, in the city centre precinct. In December 2009, after negotiating terms with Coventry City Council, we opened for business. It is the only professional theatre space of its kind in the UK.

The space is essentially empty, seating approximately 55 people in any configuration of seats that you can imagine. It currently has only domestic voltage, no lighting rig, minimal lighting on stands, nowhere to fly in huge sets and no paint or prop store. It’s not like any regular theatre, but that’s the point. It is very limited in terms of what it offers, but the limitations are what attracted us to the space in the first place.

Inspired by the Store Front Theatre scene in Chicago, our space was born out of a desire to challenge ourselves as theatre makers. After twenty years touring work for studio theatres, we were craving new ways to think about how we worked, and to connect better with our local community and the audiences for whom the work is ultimately made. We have taken everything away that we have grown to rely on, and put back only what we need. Which is always story. And actors! Anything else has to earn its place.

More thoughts about the Shop Front Theatre here via:

The Guardian: A Nation’s Theatre, October 2015

Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value – Chris O’Connell’s response, May 2015

Hire the Shop

It’s not just Theatre Absolute working in the shop. The space is available for hire to other community organisations, individual artists and users.

It is open all year round, shape shifting to suit various needs: a theatre performance space, a rehearsal space, a gallery space, a dance space, a city centre ‘living room’ and much more.

In any of its formats, the premise of the Shop Front Theatre is to offer high quality theatre and arts experiences, either as participants or audiences, at an affordable price.

Contact us for the latest hire rates.


At The Shop Front Theatre we aim to make both our space and our work accessible to everyone.

Venue Description
Our venue is step free and wheelchair accessible with our performance area and bar area on the flat. Our toilets are accessible, situated 6 metres away from the main space and reached by a small corridor to the side of the main space. Some of our events are seated and some are standing. If you would like to reserve a space for a wheelchair, please email

Getting Here
There are two on-street disabled parking spaces at the front of the building, although we cannot guarantee that they will be available on arrival. There is additional on-street parking to the front of the building and a multi-storey car park (Lower Precinct Car Park) 0.7 miles away.

If you are attending a show or a meeting we can arrange to use a trader car park space at the back of the shops in the arcade, if we are notified in advance. Where necessary, we can arrange this guaranteed space for your visit at no charge.

Access to Performances
We use captioning software for some of our performances. Where available, this will be advertised prior to the event. We provide free tickets for personal assistants/carers. If you would like to book a free ticket as a personal assistant/carer, please email

Customers with Medical Requirements
If you need to bring any medicines, medical equipment, food or drink to manage a medical condition you are welcome to do so. We do not have any medical equipment at the venue aside from the standard first aid kit.

For enquiries regarding the above or for any further assistance please email

Audience Comments