Southwark Playhouse reveals plans for two new permanent homes by 2019

Admin (18 May, 2018) Culture Regeneration

The theatre will end its 25-year search for a permanent home when it moves into two new spaces in Elephant & Castle and London Bridge

21901The new Southwark Playhouse venue at Elephant and Castle

Southwark Playhouse will settle into two new permanent spaces, ending its 25-year search for a secure home.

The theatre has announced plans to move into two venues by the end of 2019: a flexible 300-seat flagship venue in Elephant and Castle, and a smaller venue within the arches of London Bridge Station.

Both venues will operate at the same time under the name Southwark Playhouse and will be run by the current Southwark Playhouse team.

Artistic director Chris Smyrnios said the decision to move into two permanent homes came about “as a series of twists and turns”.

“It has become increasingly clear that this development is an absolutely necessary one for our organisation,” he said.

Visual of the new 300-seat Southwark Playhouse venue at Elephant and Castle

“It means we can continue our good work but also significantly increase the opportunities we can offer to local Southwark residents and new and emerging theatre artists.

“There’s a lot to do but I genuinely can’t wait to welcome everyone into our new homes from – funding pending – next year.”

The flagship Elephant and Castle venue will be on Newington Butts – five minutes from its current home on Newington Causeway – with a 125-year lease.

Part of a new mixed-use development designed by Rogers, Stirk Harbour and Partners, it will have a 300-seat flexible theatre space “dedicated to high-profile plays and musicals”.

The current Southwark Playhouse venue on Newington Causeway

As well as the main space, there will also be a secondary studio space specifically for youth, community and development work.

About a third of the funds have already been raised for the £3million project.

To help raise the remainder of the money, a crowd-generated artwork called The Two Million Pound Wall has been launched which allows the public to pay a £50 donation to have a custom design printed in one of 40,000 sections of the wall.

The second venue, Southwark Playhouse – London Bridge, will be located at 10 Bermondsey Street and will occupy five railway arches.

The new theatre will have two flexible performance spaces with 200 and 150 seats, which will be used to “nurture and promote work by new and emerging practitioners”, as well as a dedicated rehearsal space.

The London Bridge home is also due to open in 2019.

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