Dine among past plays on London’s Southbank
Propstore, a London cafe and bar built using scenery and props from recent National Theatre productions, is open until 28 September. (Ludovic des Cognets)
The curtain may have fallen on your favourite play, but this summer, Propstore – a pop-up riverfront cafe and bar built using scenery and props from recent National Theatre productions – is stealing the show.
In a small space on London's South Bank, near the National Theatre’s riverside entrance, diners, drinkers, theatre-goers and tourists can play “spot the prop” among the eclectic collection of more than 1,000 items on display.
Until 28 September, all are welcome to take a seat on the House of Commons bench from James Graham's production of This House, arrange to meet a friend under a lamp post from Simon Stephens' Port, or walk over the outline of a dead dog on the flooring from The Curious Incident of a Dog in the Night-Time (which has now transferred to the West End’s Apollo Theatre). And don't worry if your theatre trivia is not up to scratch, each item is clearly labelled with details of the stage it set.
A succinct menu of traditional English snacks with a twist (try the fish finger sandwich) is available all day, while the bar – offering English wines, Greenwich-based Meantime draught beer and gin from Hammersmith micro-distillery Sipsmith – turns into a dance floor on Friday and Saturday, thanks to a weekend line-up of DJs and live music that includes the emerging five-piece band Rhys Lewis and The Relics and hip hop soul singer JJ Rosa.
National Theatre props and costumes are usually stored in a warehouse in Brixton, a dusty space that holds more than 100,000 items. Propstore uses just a small selection of these to showcase the creativity and attention to detail that goes on behind the scenes. If it doesn’t inspire more people to book tickets to see a play, the restaurant and bar can at least provide a temporary backdrop to the everyday drama in the lives of Londoners.
Malika Dalamal is the London Localite for BBC Travel