The Almeida Theatre was built in 1837. The building began life as reading rooms and a lecture hall for Islingtons newly formed Scientific and Literary Institution, achieving early fame as the venue where the first Egyptian mummies were publicly displayed.
Since then, the building has undergone many transformations having been, over the years, a Victorian Music Hall, a Salvation Army Citadel, when the balcony was most likely added, and a factory for carnival novelties.
In the 1960s it fell into near dereliction and was only rediscovered in 1972 when Pierre Audi and his associates, realising the potential for an extraordinary performance venue, renovated the building and opened the Almeida Theatre in 1980.
Under Pierre Audi, the Almeida's first Artistic Director, the venue gained in reputation, particularly for its renowned International Festival of Contemporary Music, staged every summer (now Almeida Opera). The theatre also played host to a number of touring theatre companies from the UK and abroad.
From 1990, under the Artistic Directorship of Jonathan Kent and Ian McDiarmid, the Almeida grew to become one of the worlds leading producing theatres, characterised by its ability to produce both classical and contemporary work with the finest international artists.
In 2001, while major refurbishment work took place to Almeida Islington the Almeida Theatre Company launched a year of international theatre and created two new performance spaces in a former bus garage in Kings Cross.
In 2002, Michael Attenborough took over as Artistic Director. The Company returned home to the refurbished Almeida Theatre in Islington in 2003, since which time it has gone from strength to strength, continuing to win awards and transfer productions to the West End.