Stratford Circus

Last updated

Stratford Circus
Stratford Circus (2179748935).jpg
Stratford Circus
Address Stratford Centre
Newham, London
OwnerStratford Arts Trust
TypeArts Centre
Capacity Circus 1: 300-seat (650 standing)
Circus 2: 93-seat (160 standing)
Circus 3: Dance studio
ProductionFamily and Adult Programming
Years active2020
ArchitectLevitt Bernstein

Stratford Circus is a contemporary performing arts venue in Stratford in the London Borough of Newham, east London. It was designed by Levitt Bernstein architects and built with funding from the National Lottery, and has been operated by the Stratford Arts Trust charity since 2011.


Stratford Circus has conference and meeting facilities, hosting six "flexible spaces", three of which are theatre spaces that have been used by organisations for training, conferences and away days. Stratford Circus leads the National Partnership of Arts Centres (NPAC) through their Director and NPAC co-chair Clare Connor.

Organisations who have been based at the venue include East London Dance, Urban Development, Theatre Venture, and the Newham Youth and Community Education Service. The University of East London's Institute of Performing Arts Development (iPAD) and the London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT) are also working in partnership with the centre.


Stratford Circus was situated on a site which was occupied by a chemical works until the 1970s. In 1995, London Borough of Newham and Theatre Royal Stratford East successfully bid to the National Lottery for funds to construct Stratford Circus and to refurbish the Theatre Royal. In 1998, Jon Harris was appointed to lead the building project and establish the operating company. The name "Stratford Circus" was chosen as the result of a research and branding exercise undertaken by the new company.

The building was opened in 2001 by Tony Banks. Jon Harris left the organisation in 1992 to become Producer of Shared Experience. The new Director was Peter Conway. The organisation's board went into voluntary liquidation in August 2003, following a loss of funding. The London Borough of Newham stepped in and assumed interim management responsibility. In 2005, Newham Sixth Form College (NewVIc), who had been a partner from the outset, took over the management and a ten-year lease for the venue, under the leadership of Clare Connor. In 2011, Stratford Arts Trust was formed and took over management of the venue. From 2011 to 2021 Stratford Circus hosted over 1 million audience members in person and online, 2,000 artists & practitioners, worked with 350,000 participants and supported the development of new work by over 350 emerging and established artists. The decision to wind up was taken in 2021 by the charity's trustees following the termination of its tenancy of Stratford Circus Arts Centre by the London Borough of Newham and the subsequent withdrawal of funding by Arts Council England.

The centre hosted the first ever BBC Question Time pre-election debate in 2005 featuring all three leaders of the mainstream political parties: then Prime Minister Tony Blair, then Tory Leader Michael Howard and then Liberal Democrat Leader Charles Kennedy.

Artists who have performed their work at Stratford Circus include Andy Hamilton, Billy Bragg, John Hegley, Seun Kuti and 60x60. 60x60 Dance held its European debut at Stratford Circus in 2010. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] The event featured more than 150 dancers with 60 choreographers creating dances to each of the 60 one-minute works in the 60x60 project.

Stratford Circus was the training facility for the Japanese athletes during the 2012 Olympics in London.

Related Research Articles

Stratford, London Human settlement in England

Stratford is a town in east London, England, within the ceremonial county of Greater London and the historic county of Essex. Part of the Lower Lea Valley, Stratford is situated 6 miles (10 km) east-northeast of Charing Cross, and includes the localities of Maryland, East Village, Mill Meads and Stratford City.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">London Borough of Waltham Forest</span> London borough in United Kingdom

The London Borough of Waltham Forest is a London borough in north-east London, England. Its population is estimated to be 276,983 in 2019. It borders five other London boroughs: Enfield to the north-west, Haringey to the west, Hackney to the south-west, Newham to the south-east and Redbridge to the east, as well as the non-metropolitan county of Essex to the north.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">London Borough of Newham</span> Inner Borough of London, England

The London Borough of Newham is a London borough created in 1965 by the London Government Act 1963. It covers an area previously administered by the Essex county boroughs of West Ham and East Ham, authorities that were both abolished by the same act. The name Newham reflects its creation and combines the compass points of the old borough names. Situated in the East London part of Inner London, Newham has a population of 387,576, which is the third highest of the London boroughs and also makes it the 17th most populous district in England. The local authority is Newham London Borough Council.

Plaistow, Newham Town in East London, England

Plaistow is a suburban town in East London, England, within the London Borough of Newham. It adjoins Upton Park to the north, East Ham to the east, Beckton to the south, Canning Town to the south-west and West Ham to the west.

University of East London Public university in London, England

University of East London (UEL) is a public university located in the London Borough of Newham, London, England, based at three campuses in Stratford and Docklands, following the opening of University Square Stratford in September 2013. The University of East London began as the West Ham Technical Institute and it was officially opened in October 1898 after approval was given for the construction of the site by the West Ham Technical Instruction Act Committee in 1892 following the Technical Instruction Act of 1889. It gained university status in 1992.

Roundhouse (venue) Performing arts venue in London, England

The Roundhouse is a performing arts and concert venue situated at the Grade II* listed former railway engine shed in Chalk Farm, London, England. The building was erected in 1846–1847 by the London & North Western Railway as a roundhouse, a circular building containing a railway turntable, but was used for that purpose for only about a decade. After being used as a warehouse for a number of years, the building fell into disuse just before World War II. It was first made a listed building in 1954.

Theatre Royal Stratford East Theatre in London, England

The Theatre Royal Stratford East is a large theatre in Stratford in the London Borough of Newham. Since 1953, it has been the home of the Theatre Workshop company, famously associated with director Joan Littlewood, whose statue is outside the theatre.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Place in Greater London, England

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is a sporting complex and public park in Stratford, Hackney Wick, Leyton and Bow, in east London. It was purpose-built for the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, situated adjacent to the Stratford City development. It contains the Olympic stadium, now known as the London Stadium, and the Olympic swimming pool together with the athletes' Olympic Village and several other Olympic sporting venues and the London Olympics Media Centre. The park is overlooked by the ArcelorMittal Orbit, an observation tower and Britain's largest piece of public art.

Newham Sixth Form College Sixth form college in Plaistow, Greater London, England

Newham Sixth Form College (NewVIc) is a sixth form college located in the East London borough of Newham. Situated on a single site in Plaistow, the college was established in 1992 to provide for students in Newham and neighbouring boroughs who opt to stay in education beyond GCSE O-levels. It is designed for students ages 16 to 19 and its curriculum includes A-levels as well as specialist pathway, levels 2 and 3 vocational, foundation level and ESOL programmes. There are currently about 2,500 students at the college.


The artsdepot is a multi-purpose cultural centre located in North Finchley, in the London borough of Barnet. It was officially opened on 23 October 2004 for the enjoyment and development of the arts in North London.

Sir Jack Petchey is an English businessman and philanthropist.

Young London: Into Music is an urban youth festival comprising five events taking place in the Olympic boroughs of London from June until August and first held in 2009.

New London Orchestra

The New London Orchestra began as a body of players regularly assembled by Ronald Corp to accompany concerts given by Highgate Choral Society, and was formally founded in 1988. It developed into an orchestra specialising in rarely heard late 19th and 20th century repertoire. It is based in London. With Corp as Artistic Director, the Orchestra has helped to bring the music of Martinů to a wider audience and to re-establish the popularity of British Light Music through a series of recordings on the independent label Hyperion Records. In the field of education, the Orchestra has devised projects which use music as a tool to enhance learning in the key curriculum subjects of maths, literacy and science. Following its 'Newham Welcomes the World' community project, the NLO has focused its concert-giving and outreach work in the local community in the London Borough of Newham. The orchestra is independent of public funding, being reliant on private sponsorship and donations.

The Brewhouse Theatre & Arts Centre

Taunton Brewhouse is the largest theatre and arts centre in Taunton, the county town of Somerset, England.

Carpenters Estate

The Carpenters Estate is located in Stratford, Newham, East London, close to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The estate is formed of low rise social housing and three tower blocks. The estate has been continually earmarked for demolition and redevelopment.

University of East London Stratford Campus College in London Borough of Newham, England

The University of East London Stratford Campus is based in and around University House, a Grade II* listed building, located in Stratford, London in the London Borough of Newham. The nearest station is Maryland.

Stratford Market was a wholesale fruit and vegetable market, located in Stratford in the London Borough of Newham. Opened in 1879 by the Great Eastern Railway as a competitor to Spitalfields Market in the City of London, the market closed in 1991 and consolidated at the New Spitalfields Market in Leyton. The site is now home to Stratford Market Depot.

The Yard Theatre

The Yard Theatre is a theatre and music venue in a converted warehouse in Hackney Wick in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. It programmes theatre and performance, late-night music events, and manages two community centres where it runs work with young people and its local community.


Blake, A. (2005) 'Collaboration or collapse? NewVIc and the Stratford Cultural Quarter', in Jeffery, G. (ed) (2005) The Creative College: building a successful learning culture in the arts, Stoke-on-Trent, Trentham Books.

  1. "Performance & Events 60 x 60 Dance". Archived from the original on 24 July 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  2. The 60-second dance fest, Lyndsey Winship, Time Out London, 22–28 July 2010
  3. Sixty seconds to make an impact Archived 27 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine , University of Bedfordshire, 21 July 2010
  4. 60 dances in 60 minutes Archived 7 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine , Big Dance, 21 July 2010
  5. 60x60 Dance Archived 25 September 2010 at the Wayback Machine , Big Dance

Coordinates: 51°32′34″N0°00′05″E / 51.5427°N 0.0015°E / 51.5427; 0.0015