London Horror Festival 2019 

London Horror Festival 2019 

8th October – 2nd November 2019 (times vary)

At Pleasance Theatre and The Old Red Lion Theatre

Sponsored by Horror Channel and PS Publishing

The UK’s largest festival of live horror performance returns for its 9th year, expanding over 2 venues and 3 theatre spaces, with help from their sponsors Horror Channel and PS Publishing. This year’s festival has slithered its way through Islington to join forces with Pleasance Theatre, presenting over 30 shows to rattle your bones and send shivers down your spine. Once again, the suitably spooky Old Red Lion Theatre will play host with 2 brand-new full-length productions seeing us through Halloween.

The Festival is honoured to have playwright David Pinner, the author of RITUAL (the novel that inspired the classic cult movie THE WICKER MAN) present the world premiere of his play Edred, The Vampyre at the Old Red Lion from the 28th October – 2nd November; casting a gothic shadow over the theatre with his soon-to-be modern horror classic. Between the 8th – 26th October the Old Red Lion will be re-united with former (deceased) residents via The Knock Knock Club’s docu-play Last Orders. A blending of fact and fear, the Knock Knock Club have created a show based on the haunted folklore of the 600 year old pub and the paranormal investigations they have conducted throughout the building over the past few months. Both productions are bound to terrify, entertain and keep you checking under the bed before you go to sleep at night!

Alongside these productions, the Horror Festival will have an eclectic programme of shows by new and established horror companies taking over Pleasance Theatre’s Main House and Stage Space between 8th – 25th OctoberFestival Patron Nicholas Vince, Chatterer in Clive Barker’s Hellraiser and Kinski in Nightbreed, brings his first one-man show to the stage in I AM MONSTERS!, an autobiographical exploration of monsters and what it means to be an actor in the genre. The Milkman Cometh by DeadPlant Theatre aims to sour your semi-skimmed hopes and dreams with its grotesque horror comedy tale of demonic milk-deliverers, accompanied by a live metal band. More horror comedy appears in the form of multi-award winning Casual Violence’s 10th Anniversary extravaganza (and final ever show) Hang The Suits as they bring us the best of their deranged sketches in this double-bill event.

Horror Cabaret is also in full swing this year with Nevermore Theatre’s Serial Killer Cabaret, The Bitten Peach’s Not Another Asian Horror and PopHorror’s drag slasher panto He’s Behind You! bringing some showbiz glam to the genre!

Those looking for genuine terror will find solace with ONEOHONE Theatre Co.’s interactive horror CULT infiltrating the festival, alongside festival favourites House of Macabre with their new shocker What The Dolls Saw, critically-acclaimed Hermetic Arts’ uncanny ANTHOLOGY, and Chamber Piece Theatre’s compendium of frightening tales Late Night Horror.

The Festival are also aiming to increase representation and support for LGBTQIA+ writers within the genre through their annual playwriting competition focusing entirely on Queer Horror Writers; with the winner being unveiled to the public on the 25th October.

Don’t miss your chance to join the festivities and celebrate the blood-curdling joy of live horror with fellow theatre-goers this Halloween season!

Poster 2019 Web

could you describe the horror festival’s ethos?


Over the past nine years we have championed horror theatre, proudly presenting programmes featuring new writing, adaptations of literary classics and immersive interactive experiences, to name just a few of the regular delights on offer. We have worked to support and provide a platform for emerging talent in the horror theatre scene with our annual playwriting competition, which has previously showcased female-led work and – this year – celebrated LGBTQIA+ artists and stories to address the current lack of representation in the horror industry. Our purpose is to foster new talent as well as nurturing the already burgeoning live horror scene within the UK.



what can the audience expect to experience?


First and foremost, enjoyment! The festival gives you a chance to escape from and purge yourself of the real-life horrors happening outside of the theatre. You are united with your fellow audience members in an intimate space and together you enter an imaginary world where you can shiver, scream, laugh or spew (please don’t!) out your fears. I like to think that the festival acts as a gateway for those who don’t often (or never) go to the theatre, but want a spooky, fun Halloween experience.

how well does horror work as a theatrical genre?


Essentially, it’s where it all began. Before we could read or write or make films, humans told each other scary stories, perhaps to encourage belief in the supernatural, to frighten people away from breaking the rules or simply to entertain. Horror is an extremely cathartic genre – it invokes a huge variety of feelings and emotions. Nothing compares to seeing it all unravel right in front of you in the same space. It’s like a religious experience: your spine tingles, a cacophony of audible gasps, groans and shrieks erupt all around as you share scares with a gathering of people both fictional and non-fictional.

do you see your work in any theatrical – or other – tradition?


Absolutely. As I mentioned before, it all spawns from storytelling in the dark. But there have been other grand horror theatre movements throughout history, most notably Grand Guignol in Paris in the early 20th century. In fact, the LHF was founded by a company called Theatre of the Damned back in 2011 and Grand Guignol was their specialism. Rather than just staging another show on their own (Revenge of the Grand Guignol), they decided to find a way to bring as many artists as possible together under one roof to explore the potential of onstage horror. People also forget that Shakespeare and the Ancient Greeks had some hardcore horror tropes at the centre of their plays, so its nothing new.

how does the work fit in with your usual curation?


We’re thrilled to have had Grand Guignol de Milan bring their show Italian Horror Stories: The Italian Origins of Gothic Horror to the festival 2 years in a row now – they’re always a very popular event. We like to present a nice balance of hardcore horror and lighter approaches. If you’re a scaredy cat and unsure of the genre then you can come along to one of the many comedy shows playing – this is the ultimate path to horror appreciation – laugh out your fear! When curating each programme I look for unique stories and fun new ways of re-inventing the genre to supersede audience expectations. We usually have around 50% of companies who have previously performed at the festival to great success, alongside new artists and companies that we have not worked with before. It’s important to keep every programme fresh and exciting as we have loyal festival attendees who come every year to support our creatives and enjoy their creations.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s