The architectural concept for the design of the theatre is an archetypal scenic street. The design is based on the most direct forms of theatre of the past, such as the Italian Commedia del Arte, and the Elizabethan theatres with galleried courtyards, such as Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. It gives rise to theatrical activity by encouraging both actors and audience to see and be seen.
The theatre is a spatial progression starting from the pavement of the Mile End Road in the East End of London, through the gateway into an open air scenic space, through the steel curtain wall to the covered scenic street. Large doors lead into a small garden with a pavilion, the Young Peoples' Theatre. This assortment of theatrical spaces constitutes an a small world of theatres.
When the Greater London Council was abolished by the government led by Mrs. Thatcher in the mid 1980's the Theatre company no longer recieved public funding and were forced to sell the building. The Half Moon Theatre has since been converted into a pub.