Explore a wealth of architecture as London Open House carries on online and in person

This weekend, September 19 and 20, many interesting and usually private buildings will once again open their doors to those of us who take pleasure in exploring their design and construction.

This year, a high proportion of “visits” will be virtual ones as the explorations happen online, but it hasn’t stopped the organisers from gathering an impressive array of different types of building.

Once again theatres will take part, and you can find theatre listings by clicking here

You can visit the Open House website by clicking here

Enjoy an online journey through Streatham’s Theatre History

Foyer of Streatham Hill Theatre. Photo courtesy Tim Hatcher

When entertainment was not readily available or affordable, Streatham-ites have always made it themselves. The first building constructed with theatre in mind was opened in 1888, and within 40 years, the entertainment on offer in Streatham rivalled that of the West End. This online talk reflects the way in which professional and amateur theatre have complemented each other through the ages, and shows how talented amateurs became stars of the West End stage.

This comprehensive online talk is on Tuesday 15th September 7.00-8.30pm BST and will be given by Liz Burton of the Streatham Society, Streatham Theatre Company and Friends of Streatham Hill Theatre

Book here to request a place and enter “Theatre” in the subject

This event is hosted by the Streatham Society. Part of Lambeth Heritage Festival 2020.

You may also be interested to read my comprehensive and fully-illustrated article about the jewel in Streatham’s theatrical crown, the 2800-seater Streatham Hill Theatre (which has just celebrated its 92nd birthday). Read the article here

Watch Now for Families: Little Angel Theatre’s MOON RIVER

The excellent Little Angel Theatre are offering another show for free online until 30th September

The song Moon River received an Academy Award for Best Original Song for its performance by Audrey Hepburn in the film BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S in 1961.

Here, in Tim Hopgood’s illustrated edition, a little girl goes on a magical journey along the Moon River, which flows from her bedroom out into the big wide world.

Hopgood’s illustrations will be brought to life with design by Alison Alexander, and new recordings of the songs by Barb Jungr and Jenny Carr. The team will be working together to create the shows remotely, following social distancing guidelines.

The show lasts about four minutes and is suitable for younger children.

Although this show is free to watch, please consider making a donation to the Little Angel Theatre which does vital work in helping younger children to access and experience the joy of theatre.

Watch MOON RIVER here

This is an adaptation of one book in Tim Hopgood’s classic songbook series. You can also watch a show featuring another song/book in this series, WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD, by clicking here


A Little Angel Theatre Production

Designed by Alison Alexander
Performed and filmed by Alison Alexander and Chris Mason
Music performed by Barb Jungr and Jenny Carr
Recordings mixed by Jonathan Lee

Moon River
Composed by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer
By permission of SONY/ATV Music

Artwork © Tim Hopgood, published by Oxford University Press.

Streatham Hill Theatre announces consultants and viability study in first stage of comeback

Streatham Hill Theatre auditorium. Photo courtesy Tim Hatcher

The Friends of Streatham Hill Theatre, supported by the Mayor of London, Lambeth Council and The Theatres Trust, and backed by a successful crowdfunding initiative, have started work with the successful bidders of a hard fought competitive tender to produce a Viability Study and Economic Impact Assessment on the historic building. This will deliver a report on the theatre’s potential to become a multi-purpose arts and culture centre for the local community.

David Harvey, Chair of the Friends of Streatham Hill Theatre said:

“I am delighted to announce we have appointed a crack team led by renowned arts business consultants FEI to deliver this milestone work on reawakening Streatham Hill Theatre. We are confident that the team will deliver a compelling case for its use as an arts and cultural venue fit for a post-Covid renewal. Doing so will help bring new opportunities and benefits to the local economy and to the community that has given us such strong backing.”

Nick Dodds, Managing Director of FEI said:

“We are really excited to be working with the Friends of Streatham Hill Theatre to help bring this important building back to life. We have put together a very experienced team of architects, cost consultants, economists and business planners to find realistic and sustainable options for the building over the next few months. We know from experience that these projects take a huge amount of commitment and enthusiasm from the lead organisation to realise their potential – something the Friends have plenty of!”

Councillor Sonia Winifred, Cabinet Member for Equalities and Culture, Lambeth Council said:

“The appointment of FEI and their consultant team follows a successful crowdfunding initiative and marks a really important phase in the history of Streatham Hill Theatre. Their appointment is a critical step towards understanding what a viable future for the theatre looks like and how that can be achieved. The Council is keen to see the building play a key role in supporting local jobs, boosting the town centre economy and raising Streatham’s profile. We look forward to continuing to work with the Friends and their appointed team over the coming months!”

Claire Appleby, Architecture Adviser at Theatres Trust said:

“We are delighted to be supporting the Viability Study and Economic Impact Assessment for the Streatham Hill Theatre through our Theatres at Risk Capacity Building Programme. The announcement of the appointment of FEI and their consultant team to carry out these works is an exciting and important first step in the journey to breathe new life into this magnificent theatre which has been on our Theatres at Risk register since 2017.”

The viability study has been funded following an overwhelming community response to a crowdfunding campaign by the Friends group of local volunteers. The Crowdfund London campaign gained 440 pledges, and won the backing of the Mayor of London, Lambeth Council and the Theatres Trust. It also gained high-profile endorsements from the creative community, including Baroness Benjamin DBE, DL, Simon Callow CBE, Lolita Chakrabarti, Catherine Russell, and Sir Mark Rylance.

To deliver this project FEI have teamed up with theatre architects Aedas Arts Team, cost and programme consultants Pulse Consult, and creative industry economists Nordicity. They will look at different options for the future of the Grade II listed building as an arts and cultural centre, and then set out a robust and compelling case to decision-makers and interested parties to come on-board.

The report will be completed in December 2020, and will move the Friends of Streatham Hill Theatre a step closer to realising their plans to bring back to life the ‘sleeping beauty’, setting the scene for detailed engagement with potential partners in 2021.

Streatham Hill Theatre foyer. Photo courtesy Tim Hatcher

Enjoy a virtual visit from your sofa during Heritage Open Days 2020

Across the UK from 11-20 September, many historic and intriguing buildings are throwing their doors open to the public for unusual levels of access to explore what’s inside.

This year a large number of events have gone online, choosing to provide tours and access virtually, with the benefit that large numbers can participate and enjoy the sessions. As usual a number of theatres are participating, all online except where indicated, including

The Cygnet Theatre, Exeter, Devon

The Roman Theatre, Colchester, Essex

Cheltenham Playhouse, Gloucestershire

The Garrick Theatre in Stockport, Manchester

The Mayflower Theatre in Southampton (not online)

The Theatre Royal Winchester, Hampshire

The Playhouse, Preston, Lancashire

The Y Theatre, Leicester, Leicestershire (not online)

The Little Theatre, Southport, Merseyside

St George’s Theatre, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk

Palace Theatre, Newark, Nottinghamshire

The Blakehay Theatre, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset

Theatre Royal Wakefield, West Yorkshire

You can find out more details about how to take a tour from the comfort of your own sofa by visiting the Heritage Open Days wesbite here