The world premiere of a gay rom-com will officially open North London's newest theatre space.

The Exhibitionists by Shaun McKenna and Andrew Van Sickle will be first show at the new King's Head Theatre in Islington Square.

The venue operated as a pub theatre for 53 years on Upper Street, but has just moved into purpose-built premises with a 200 seat main auditorium, and 50 seat bar and cabaret space.

Ham & High: The King's Head Theatre was founded in the pub of the same name in Upper Street, IslingtonThe King's Head Theatre was founded in the pub of the same name in Upper Street, Islington (Image: Anna Bruce)

One of London's oldest pub theatres, its illustrious history includes early career performances by Hugh Grant, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Alan Rickman and Richard E Grant, and premiering work by writers such as Steven Berkoff, Tom Stoppard and Victoria Wood.

In recent years it has focused on creating work by and for the LGBTQ+ community, with a priority on community and artist development programmes.

The comedy about love, sex, happiness and freedom is set in the San Francisco art world as ex partners collide at an exhibition. Sparks fly, new boyfriends are caught up in the blast, and a series of comic crises ensue including a road trip, and a mysterious hotelier.

Ham & High: The new venue is in Islington Square just behind the old pub theatreThe new venue is in Islington Square just behind the old pub theatre (Image: The King's Head)

Directed by Bronagh Lagan, The Exhibitionists runs from 5 January – Saturday 10 February 2024 with the role of 'Conor' played by RSC actor Ashley D Gayle, Jake Mitchell-Jones as ‘Mal,' Robert Rees as ‘Robbie’, and ‘Rayyan’ played by Italian-Thai actor Rolando Montecalvo.

McKenna's work includes The Lord of the Rings, at Watermill & Drury Lane; Ladies in Lavender at Royal & Derngate, and the forthcoming The Forsyte Saga, at Park Theatre. Andrew Van Sickle is a journalist making his playwriting debut.

Producer James Seabright said "As co-producer of Exhibitionists and chair of trustees at the King’s Head Theatre, I am doubly excited to announce this brilliant cast for the world premiere of this sparkling comedy as the first new production at the new King’s Head Theatre.Ham & High: Jake Mitchell Jones is among the cast of The ExhibitionistsJake Mitchell Jones is among the cast of The Exhibitionists (Image: Supplied)

"Director Bronagh Lagan and casting director Jane Deitch have brought the perfect ensemble together to explore this comedy of modern gay manners set in the art world of America’s west coast. It promises audiences an ideal escape from the London winter."

The new theatre was built with support from the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund, and features an accessible auditorium, offices, and rehearsal space, as well as two bars, one of which will double as a 50-seat cabaret, drag events, and comedy space.