How to find rehearsal space in London
There are numerous options for rehearsal spaces in London. It's a good idea to keep an eye out in general, so that if you end up in a building where you think you could rehearse, you can find out whilst you're there if it's an option and keep contact details for a later date when you might need them. It's good to remember that a lot of space in London isn't always in use, and whoever is in charge may not have considered the use of the space for rehearsals. It doesn't harm to ask. Generally, if you can offer them something in return and are moderately charming they're bound to consider it.
If you want to rehearse at an established theatre they have options on their websites and contact details for the person in charge. In order to get in with these theatres it's good if you know someone who works there, but the higher up you go the less influential anyone can be in terms of acquiring a good deal. If you're doing a staged reading, or you want to use that particular venue for other reasons such as marketing purposes, then it's worth going through contacts, unless money isn't an issue. Prices for theatres vary but they can go all the way up to a couple of hundred pounds an hour, which is fine if you can afford it but not so good when you're just starting out.
There are other options for established venues which hold the benefit of facilities such as a cafe or showers. These too vary in price.
Then there are the less established venues such as pub theatres which will be considerably cheaper.
Here are the things to consider when looking for rehearsal space.
Old drama schools or places you've worked before may be able to offer free or discounted rooms for rehearsals to ex students and employees. It's always worth checking with the people you know for things like this.
1. What do you need? Each production has it's own requirements, for instance if you are a cast of thirty people who will be using a lot of physical theatre and making a lot of noise for a three hour show you know you can't get away with a little room above a pub, you will need a larger space where it's OK to make noise. If on the other hand you are rehearsing for a two-hander short film then there's no reason why you can't rehearse in someone's living room in the first instance.
2. Where are you performing the show? If you already have a theatre or a space that your show is being performed then it's always the first port of call for rehearsal space. You might already know that you can't use the theatre for rehearsals, but it's worth asking the organisers or theatre managers because it's likely they will be able to recommend other spaces that might work for your needs or perhaps offer you cheap rehearsal space within the building.
3. Who are you working with that might have a lead? It's always good to ask your actors and creatives if they know anywhere, perhaps somewhere they've used before.
4. If money is an issue there are ways to get rehearsal space for free. Some organisations have deals where you volunteer for them and they provide you with free rehearsal space. A very useful option is that a lot of pubs will allow you to rehearse in their function rooms, provided they are not already booked and you buy a couple of drinks and snacks whilst you are there.