The Blue Elephant Theatre is a 50 seat fringe theatre situated in the borough of Southwark in London. It was established in 1999 by Antonio Ribeiro. Jasmine Cullingford was the Artistic Director until she stepped down in 2013. The theatre has an eclectic programme, promoting cross-art-form work and all forms of theatre from physical and dance theatre to new writing and classics. Its aim is to nurture new and emerging artists across the performing arts.
These have included Mamoru Iriguchi (Evening Standard Best Design Award-Winner 2009), Levantes Dance Theatre (Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award-Winner 2009]), George Mann (The Stage Best Solo Performer Award-Winner 2009) and Paul Morris (Adopt A Playwright Award-Winner 2009). In 2009 Cullingford won the Best Venue Manager award from Fringe Report and in October 2013 the Blue Elephant won the inaugural Southwark Arts Forum Performing Arts Award for work that 'exemplifies the genre'.
The Blue Elephant has forged a reputation for staging little-know works by Mervyn Peake. On Wednesday 4 June 2008 the theatre hosted a talk by Sebastian Peake, son of Mervyn Peake. A script by Mervyn Peake, The Cave, was given a rehearsed reading at the theatre by Flat Pack Productions on 21 June 2009. Following this the Blue Elephant staged the world premiere production of The Cave in October 2010, directed by Aaron Paterson. As part of the Mervyn Peake centenary celebrations (2011) the theatre held a rehearsed reading of Peake’s play, Noah's Ark (26 April), a rehearsed reading - a premiere - of his play, Mr Loftus, or A Horse of Air (27 April) and a reading of a selection of poems by Peake (28 April).
Following the success of these readings the theatre staged the Theatre Premiere of Noah's Ark which had previously been produced on BBC radio in the 1970s. This production was directed by Mhairi Grealis, who had also staged its rehearsed reading, and it was one of three productions shortlisted for offwestend.com's award for Best Production for Young People that year. On Friday 10 May 2013, the Blue Elephant presented a scratch work-in-progress theatre adaptation of Peake's novella "Boy in Darkness", performed by Gareth Murphy.