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Half Moon Archive

Stages of Half Moon Heritage Project

Half Moon was established in 1972 and became known for producing a range of political performances for adult East End audiences. By the 1980s, Half Moon had a Young People’s Theatre which was creating shows to tour to schools in Tower Hamlets and beyond. Some of these performances were groundbreaking for the time as they were participatory and immersive, explored controversial issues and some were presented bilingually in English and Sylheti-Bengali.

We have produced an online archive, Stages of Half Moon, which details all productions put on by Half Moon from 1972 to the present day. There are interviews with performers, directors and designers as well as participants and audience members. You can find out about the participatory work Half Moon has been doing since the 1970s in the form of projects and Youth Theatre performances. There’s also information about the three different buildings in which Half Moon has been based.

The website is a brilliant tool for drama teachers and students to use for research and as stimulus for devised performances. Below are some suggestions:

Fall in and Follow Me

Find out about the East End Children’s Strike of 1911 which was the stimulus for this 1973 production.


Pal Joey

Explore the costume designs by Iona McLeish for this 1980 musical starring Sian Philips and Denis Lawson which transferred to the West End.


As Is

Explore one of the UK’s first theatre performances about HIV and AIDS which starred George Costigan.


Sweeney Todd

Watch an interview with Chris Bond who wrote the first Sweeney Todd play which Stephen Sondheim then turned into a musical and which he directed to be the opening production of the new Half Moon Theatre on Mile End Road.


Dear Suraiya… Love Rehana

Watch interviews by the actors who worked on this play, Half Moon’s first performed bilingually in English and Sylheti-Bengali.

Find out about the stimulus for the play: a campaign by War on Want to tackle the appalling conditions in which tea workers in Bangladesh were working.

Find out about other performances Half Moon created that were performed in English and Sylheti-Bengali.


Sink the Belgrano!

Look at the pages of handwritten notes from Steven Berkoff’s research for writing Sink the Belgrano!

Watch an interview with Maggie Steed who talks about playing the role of Margaret Thatcher.

Read the reviews by theatre critics.


Frances de la Tour

Find out about the shows that Frances de la Tour worked on at Half Moon.

Explore the production of Hamlet where she played the title role, one of the first portrayals by a woman.


Technical Training Course

Find out about Half Moon’s Technical Training for young people which was a specialist course offered between 1986 and 1998.


More info for schools and educators