In April 2023, what is believed to be the first vegan theatre in the UK is set to open on the site of a former school in Canterbury, Kent, UK. It will only serve vegan food during shows, and spectators will not be allowed to consume food containing animal products either. In addition, anyone hiring the 300-seat venue will only be allowed to eat vegan food on-site.

The school, which operated under the Steiner educational philosophy,  closed last year after Ofsted inspectors discovered many failings, and the large stage area underwent a significant overhaul. The new venue will be known as the Garlinge Theatre and will operate in the school’s old performing arts building. 

A cooperative which includes actor Alison Harris and her partner Terry Thompson, a Swale councillor, will operate the theatre.  Cllr Thompson, who has been vegan for 22 years, told KentOnline: “The theatre was underutilised in recent years but it is purpose-built and huge so it is a brilliant venue. It was never really put out to the public. We thought it would be such a shame to waste it so we wanted to make it work as an independent theatre for education, community groups and local production companies…. We do not want to put people off who are not vegan and it is open to all.”

The theatre will also raise awareness about animal charities and a dinner and dance fundraising event called The Big Band Ball will be held by the theatre on 31st March. The organisers said, “The Garlinge Theatre is set in the beautiful Kent countryside, nestled within an organic farm, and is ready to open its doors to the community. So grab your dancing shoes and come join us for a night you won’t forget!”

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.