A comedy show was abandoned last night after a blaze hit the venue.
The Etcetera Theatre in Camden was evacuated after flames were seen licking the side of the building, while smoke billowed from the pub below.
Fire alarms went off at around 7.30pm, and firefighters rushed to the scene.
The drama is an inauspicious omen for the venue, which has just been taken over by comedy promoters Michelle Flower and Zena Barrie.
Flower, said: "It's a very upsetting turn of events, as Zena and I have only been managing the theatre for a week, and this was only the second of the regular gigs that we are running.
"The damage to the theatre itself appears to be minimal and only cosmetic. We should have it cleared up in time for the performances tomorrow evening. The shows must go on."
Barrie added: "When the fire alarms started ringing I thought it was one of the sound effects for the show. I tried to switch it of on the sound desk, but it kept going!"
The fire also proved the value of a £40,000 fire exit that was installed in 1995 following a fundraising driver spearheaded by John Gielgud, Judi Dench, Russ Abott and Shane Ritchie.