The Gatehouse (c) Ewan Munro



The popular theatre, Upstairs at the Gatehouse, which is hosting the Highgate Vampire Symposium 2015, can naturally be found above The Gatehouse public house in Highgate Village. The site on which the present building stands is known to have been occupied since at least the 1300s, and was for many years a tollhouse, collecting fees from travellers who wished to enter the Bishop of London’s land.

Over the years the space now occupied by the auditorium has been utilised as a ballroom, a music hall and a silent cinema.   Although the exterior of The Gatehouse gained its mock-tudor appearance in 1905, and substantial remodelling took place during the 1800s, many elements of the earliest incarnations of this ancient hostelry remain hidden in the core of the building.

Established for over twenty years, Upstairs at the Gatehouse, has a loyal regular audience, and attracts theatregoers from much further afield than Highgate thanks to the glowing reviews it receives in publications such as Time Out and the annual awards it continues to receive for its many 5 star productions. You can find out about upcoming productions at Upstairs at the Gatehouse, and join their mailing list, via their website.


Given its age, it is perhaps unsurprisingly that the pub and theatre have their fair share of ghosts, which seem predominately Jacobean in appearance. Since purchasing the upper stories in the early 1990s, John Plews, who owns and runs Ovations Productions, has embraced (with only minor cynicism) the theatre’s resident ghost. Known as Mother Marnes, this black-clad spectre has been sighted for centuries, and is supposedly a widow who was murdered for her money in the 17th century.   Other ghosts include that of a smuggler on the balcony which overlooks the stage, and a menacing figure in a “Guy Fawkes-type hat”.

Special appearances by the ghosts cannot be guaranteed, and are not included in the ticket price. But should any choose to manifest during the day, please do not be alarmed!


Box Office Upstairs at the Gatehouse


All ticket sales for this event are being managed by the Box Office at Upstairs at the Gatehouse. They can be reached on 020 8340 3488 and bookings can also be made online – click on ‘BUY NOW’ and follow the links to the ‘Tickets’ Page. Keep scrolling down until the clickable image of The Egyptian Avenue in Highgate Cemetery appears.  Clicking on the image will take you to the online booking section. 

The Box Office is open at various hours during the day and always two hours before a performance, although early booking for this event is advisable.

A 24 hour answering machine service is available for booking during unmanned hours.

Tickets for the day cost £12, or £10 for concessions. A small booking fee may apply.

Please be aware that this event will be filmed.

Please also be advised that the event organisers reserve the right to refuse admission at their discretion.



We regret that Upstairs at the Gatehouse is not a wheelchair-accessible venue. Attendees with limited mobility should be aware that there are 19 steps to the auditorium, with handrails on each side and a half landing.

The theatre is now equipped with an induction loop system to assist those who are hard of hearing – please speak to the theatre staff for more information and advice on using it with a hearing aid.

Toilets can be found in The Gatehouse public bar downstairs, including a disabled access WC (please ask at the bar for the key)

Food & Drink

Food and drink can also be obtained from the bar during breaks, and Symposium attendees are advised to place orders in advance due to the pub’s popularity at Sunday lunchtimes. Please mention that you are attending the Symposium when you place your order.

Food purchased at the bar cannot be consumed in the theatre, but you are welcome to bring up drinks (please remember to return your glasses to the bar).

You are also welcome to bring a packed lunch!

How to find the theatre

By Tube to Highgate Station

Everyone knows Highgate Tube is nowhere near Highgate. So be prepared for a shortish stroll!
(Northern Line – High Barnet Branch – plus 15 minute walk – Zone 3).
Exit 3. Cross Archway Road then walk up and to the end of Southwood Lane. Look to the right and you will see The Gatehouse Pub, a large mock-Tudor building on a roundabout.
Entrance to the theatre is through the pub.

By Tube to Archway Station

(Northern Line – High Barnet branch – plus a steep hill walk for 20 minutes
OR a 5 minute bus ride – Zone 2&3).
Turn left out of the main exit and left into Highgate Hill.
Take either 143, 210, or 271 up the hill to Highgate Village from Bus stop E.

By bus

143 (Archway – East Finchley – Brent Cross)
210 (Finsbury Park – Golders Green – Brent Cross)
214 (Highgate – Kentish Town – Camden – Angel – Old Street – Liverpool Street)
271 (Highgate – Highbury & Islington – Old Street – Liverpool Street)

By car

Free parking after Noon in residents parking bays and pay and display bays.
Parking permitted on single yellow lines after 6.30pm on weekdays
and all day on weekends (please check the roadside signs).
The small space immediately outside the theatre is for loading and unloading ONLY.

One of London’s most reliable fringe musical theatre venues ~ TIME OUT Magazine