Jessica Cole and Simina Ellis are best friends, flat mates, and now business partners.

The two actors, who met while working in management at The Playhouse Theatre in the West End Theatre, have just opened a new cafe in Chalk Farm.

Libra boasts a ground-floor eatery serving home made pastries, coffee, snacks and cocktails, and a 50-capacity basement performance space to stage comedy, plays, music, and cabaret.

The name springs from how the pair complement each other.

Ham & High: The cafe serves cocktails snacks, coffee and simple platters upstairsThe cafe serves cocktails snacks, coffee and simple platters upstairs (Image: Libra theatre cafe)

"I love my boyfriend very much, but Jessica is my soul mate," says Simina.

"We live together, work together, and balance each other out. The name is not just about our star signs, but they way that I always look at the worst case scenario, and Jess is always optimistic. She tells me to calm down and breathe.

"We know it will work running a business together."

The pair, who live in Finchley Road, want to offer a platform for emerging writers musicians, and performers "to launch themselves", with free hire on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to put on a show.

Ham & High: Downstairs is a performance space with room for 40-50 peopleDownstairs is a performance space with room for 40-50 people (Image: Libra theatre cafe)

While Simina loves baking, Jess is in charge of cocktails, which have a theatrical theme - from one inspired by Priscilla, Queen of the Desert that is served in a glass boot, to another based on Back to the Future served in a test tube.

"We were both in the business side of theatre but we realised during Covid that we missed the creativity, so we decided to put the two together with our theatre cafe," says Jessica.

"It's a really good area with lots of footfall. We have a huge window and a piano upstairs. Performers see it and pop in and ask about our downstairs space - it's a very Camden vibe."

Simina adds: "It's beautiful see people walk in, say they've heard about the space, and to say 'you have come to the right place.'

"They can use it for free on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, put something on and keep the money from the tickets."

On other days they hire out the space for a commercial rates, but plan to stage their own theatre work down soon, and are already booked until September as a comedy venue for this summer's Camden Fringe.

Simina and Jessica were searching for the right spot for three years and when they walked into the former pizzeria on Chalk Farm Road, "knew straight away it was right."

Soon after opening, a customer told them it had once been the Offstage Theatre & Film Bookshop, which had a theatre space downstairs.

"I got goosebumps that there had been actors in that space," says Simina.

"History has repeated itself and things have come round again, it felt as though the space chose us."

Libra is at 37, Chalk Farm Road, Camden Town.