New Secret Theatre Brings Street Art to London’s SW7

London, as we all know, is heaving with secret little gems – La Bodega Negra in the basement of a Soho building with a sex shop façade; breakfast in former Victorian public toilets like The Attendant; the Secret Cinema, prohibitions parties and all sorts of entertainment – and now, The Street.


I may be biased because this new theatre space which was just built inside the study abroad center, CAPA International Education, where I work full time has seven large canvas prints of my London photography on the walls.

street steph

But it’s genuinely an awesome space for both exhibitions and performance with its fancy sprung floors, thick black box style curtain, lush velvety red curtains at the back and special lighting.


In fact, it uses new LED technology that’s supposed to revolutionise the theatre industry over the next decade and this is the first installation of its kind in the UK. They even have a fun disco setting where the lights switch colours in response to sound.

RUN at WorkRUN at work

And my favourite part about it? It contains some original street art from the fabulous British paste up artist D7606 who created a special traditional London phone box at the entrance to the theatre (first photo) and a freshly-painted mural by London-based Italian street artist RUN. (Speaking of RUN, his new Village Underground piece is now finished as well!)

RUN in progressRUN’s mural before the lights and floor were installed

I had the pleasure of meeting both D7606 and RUN as they worked on these new pieces, creating a bit of street art in West London where it’s seldom found outside of the little Ladbroke Grove bubble near Portobello Market. This is on Cromwell Road, SW7, where you would definitely least expect it.


The space was built for a new Theatre Studies program for American study abroad students who come to CAPA London, but it will also be open for public events like exhibitions, open mic evenings, storytelling events, etc for the London community as well. Watch this space for upcoming events.


The name of the theatre came from a student who said his academic program here was great but he learned so much out there on “the street”. And it’s true – as much as you can learn in a classroom, what you learn on the street is much more raw, gritty, the stuff of real life.


We launched the space earlier this week with a street theme. We had international street food catered by Incredibly Fed.

street food

Garry Hunter was there to sign his book, “Street Art of the World” which was a giveaway gift to each of the 50 or so guests.


Clementine Lovell and her Pop Up Opera came in for an energetic performance of two one-act operas – Donizetti’s Rita and Pergolesi’s La Serva Padrona.


I interviewed Clem about the Pop Up Opera which was on LLO on Monday and worth a read. She started the group with the idea of making the art form more accessible based on her experience with the more down to earth approach to opera in small Italian villages during her operatic training.


They sing in Italian with modern English subtitles, translated in a way that makes it funny rather than directly from its original language.


They use all sorts of props – from Nutella to a morph suit with balloon muscles to strands of rope.

Morph Suit

They ran among the audience quite a bit, chasing each other, rolling around the floor, singing directly to people.


My front row knee was used quite a few times as a random place to leave props from these claws to a Muscle Men magazine.


It was all very entertaining.


Before, during intermission, and after the show, there was plenty of mingling.

capa staff 1

And a few celebratory drinks.

capa staff 2

My photos, below, are hanging out on the walls of the theatre with the captions beneath them.

photo 1

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It’s an exciting new space both for the students and the London community who will also have access to this hidden gem of a creative space for a variety of interesting events coming soon!

London Art Spot: D7606

Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 20.27.39D7606 is a new face on the London street art scene, pasting up his first piece at the end of last year. You may have noticed his work – the iconic London telephone boxes in a Crayola box range of colours housing some people who are icons themselves like Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. I’ve tracked him down to discuss.

Read on to find out the meaning behind his unusual name, what he thinks of the street art tours storming the East End of London lately and, well, where he’d like to store his ashes… And if you have a chance, head down to the What If Gallery in Dartford to see his first two framed pieces in a show – Don’t Hold Back. It opens tomorrow at 6:30pm.

D7606 colabs with 616 and Benjamin Murphy -top- Ian Curtis - bottom- Dalston - March 2013Photo: D7606 colabs with 616 and Benjamin Murphy on top; Ian Curtis on bottom in Dalston, March 2013

LLO: Tell us a bit about your background. Are you from London originally? Which area of the city is home for you?
D7606: I am not an artist by trade. In fact, this is just a love of mine. I am a relatively new boy to town and although I have always loved art and street art, it’s only recently I have found the time to actually start creating my own work.

I am from Hertfordshire originally, but found myself living in East London a few years ago before moving up north to Lancashire where I currently live, although most people think I still live around London as I’m rarely away from the place! Thank god for Mr Branson’s Virgin Trains!

Street Art Jack White by D7606, Brick Lane, Shoreditch - February 2013Photo: Jack White by D7606, Brick Lane, Shoreditch – February 2013

LLO: The next obvious question has to be about your name: D7606. What’s the story behind it?
D7606: The question I love to avoid?? Well, D7606 comes from my former life when I was a railway photographer, D7606 being a class 25 British Railways diesel locomotive. Enough said there in case you all thought I was a closet trainspotter!! (Honest, I’m not!)

Street Art by Phlegm and D7606, Heanage Street, Shoreditch - February 2013Photo: Street Art by Phlegm and D7606, Heanage Street, Shoreditch – February 2013

LLO: Famous ladies in colourful versions of iconic phone boxes have been popping up constantly in London lately. What do you hope to communicate through your work?
D7606: I’m not into deep meaningful art. If I see something I like, then that’s it. Don’t get me wrong; I appreciate art and some pieces do take my breath away for sure, but my work is more of a visual statement. I merely want to bring a bit of colour and fun to the streets of London and what better way with iconic people, especially ladies, in bright and colourful telephone boxes?

Street Art by D7606 Hackney Wick - February 2013Photo: Street Art by D7606 Hackney Wick – February 2013

LLO: Who can we expect to find hiding in a D7606 phone box next? How do you choose? 
D7606: I chose the first few I did, Marilyn Monroe and Liz Taylor, but mostly they are requested by friends and people who like my work. The theme is mostly iconic women and my telephone boxes have so far included:  Rihanna, Princess Diana, Audrey Hepburn, Barbara Windsor, Gwen Stefani and Emeli Sande.

Street Art by D7606 featuring Joy Division's Ian Curtis, Brick Lane - March 2013Photo: Street Art by D7606 featuring Joy Division’s Ian Curtis, Brick Lane

So what can you expect next? Defiantly more iconic ladies, maybe the American movie star Dorothy Lamour or the Spice Girls?? But there will be a change to more iconic guys I think. I have just done Ian Curtis from Joy Division and there are many more from the world of music I would love to feature. Then there are a number of collaborations I have been asked to do. They will bring something new and different to my work. I am very sure of that.

Street Art by D7606 and D3B, Shoreditch - February 2013Photo: Street Art by D7606 and D3B, Shoreditch – February 2013

LLO: Where did you put your first paste-up, when and what was it?
D7606: It was in Manchester’s Northern Quarter next to the well known music venue Band on the Wall. It was early November 2012 and was a red telephone box with Liz Taylor. My first in London was shortly afterward in the dark alleyways of Brick Lane. Again, it was telephone boxes with Liz Taylor plus Marilyn and Rihanna!

Street Art by Alice Pasquini and D7606, Brick Lane Shoreditch - January 2013Photo: Street Art by Alice Pasquini and D7606, Brick Lane, Shoreditch – January 2013

LLO: Why is street art important to both yourself and to the community?
D7606: Important to me? That’s a hard one. I’m not sure “important” is a word I would choose. For me, I just love street art. It’s so much fun creating your own work then going out and pasting it up. It’s such a great feeling when you create something new, print it, cut it out then finally paste it up in the right spot.

As far as the importance to the community, yes, it is very important indeed. There are so many dull and run down looking places around our cities. Street art brings art out of the galleries so all people from all walks of life can see and appreciate it and it certainly does brighten up our communities. When you walk through East London or Bristol, for example, on a Sunday morning and you see rows of shops with their anti-vandal shutters down proudly displaying work by some of  the best street artist around, that surely has to be a good thing?

King size telphone box colab with Gee Street Art, Brick Lane - March 2013Photo: King size telphone box colab with Gee, Brick Lane – March 2013

LLO: What’s your opinion on the influx of street art tours in London lately?
D7606: Best be careful here as I know some of the guys who do the tours! Personally, I wouldn’t go on one, but if it brings tourist to Brick Lane and the Hackney Road rather than Oxford Street or the Tower of London, then it can’t be all bad. I think if they are done right by the right people who do actually love street art then it’s okay.

D7606 Blackall Street - March 2013Photo: D7606 Blackall Street – March 2013

LLO: Outside of street art, what are your hobbies?
D7606: Apart from street art there is very little time left in my life for much else. I love travelling and photography, but if I were to travel and take pictures, it probably would be to take more pictures of street art!

D7606 and 616 Collaberation, Shoreditch - March 2013Photo: D7606 and 616 collaboration, Shoreditch – March 2013

LLO: Which other London-based artists do you most admire and why?
D7606: There are so many I admire. I love most of the work by the well know paste-up artists like St8ment, Donk and Mr Fahrenheit. Their work rate is phenomenal and the work is ever changing. Every time I visit London, there is something new of theirs to see. I also admire the likes of 616 and Obit. They just know how to bomb a city with street art! 616 especially; each piece he does is so creative and individual. Finally, some of those who paint and bring that much needed colour to our walls, Stik being the absolute genius with such simple but stunning pieces. I also love the recent work by Kayleigh Doughty (Artista), Irony and Sky High.

Aspire and D7606 Stokes Croft, Bristol - March 2013Photo: Aspire and D7606, Stokes Croft, Bristol – March 2013

LLO: Best London discovery?
D7606: All those back street cafes and of course Blackall Street in Shoreditch – a paste up artists heaven. If I die tomorrow, feel free to paste my ashes to one of the walls down there!

A plague of paste ups by D7606, Shoreditch - FebruaryPhoto: A plague of paste-ups by D7606, Shoreditch – February 2013

Thanks D7606!