Streatham, South London, UK 020 358 249 12

Theatre to be relocated from Streatham Hill to Thornton?

The Boundary Commission has proposed changes to local ward boundaries, meaning that Streatham Hill Theatre would now be in Thornton! We are objecting to this change, as described below.

Have your say on the Boundary Commission web site by April 12th.

The Friends of Streatham Hill Theatre, a registered charity with 1,100 members, object strongly to the Boundary Commission’s proposals which we regard as damaging to the community and businesses in Streatham Hill.

The proposals fail to meet the central requirement to “reflect community identity”, which should not be given less weight than other considerations.

The identity of the area would be fractured by splitting Streatham Hill ward into four component parts.

Worst of all for the aspirations to revive the Streatham Hill Theatre is the proposal to move it and the adjacent community into a ward which will not identify with Streatham.  This is evidenced by Thornton Ward not even being included in the section of the proposals dealing with Streatham (paragraphs 160 to 189).

The current focus of Streatham Hill Ward and its community is the A23 Streatham Hill.  The current boundaries of the ward, straddling the road, recognise that and the history of the area.  Streatham gets its name from being the ‘village’ on the ‘street’  (Streat ham). Its whole history and development reflect that.

To split the area up, using Streatham Hill as a boundary completely negates that historic reality, reflected for example in the long-standing SaferA23 campaign uniting community concerns east and west of the road and major proposals by Transport for London to transform that section of the A23 into a safer place for pedestrians and cyclists, and overcome the severance produced by the current dual carriageway layout. Residents on both sides of the road are united by common concerns, whether they be about highway safety or retail and commercial development, and community safety.

The area has been treated as an entity in council proposals and policies, and the council supports the campaign to revive the 2,800 capacity Streatham Hill Theatre, on the west side of the A23 at Streatham Hill, into a thriving cultural hub as a key driver to the regeneration of the area.

The Draft Revised Lambeth Local Plans states: “The Council will support the regeneration of the former Streatham Hill Theatre to become a major leisure and entertainment venue alongside workspace for creative and cultural industries” . The Streatham Investment and Growth Strategy 2019-30 sets out as a priority exploring the feasibility of refurbishing and rejuvenating the theatre, and says that “successfully restoring this building would bring significant improvements to the public realm and historic/cultural fabric of the area, as well as delivering against a number of other objectives presented in this strategy (e.g. Strengthening and Diversifying the Town Centre).

The restoration and revival of  the theatre, which has been designated an Asset of Community Value, have the active support of the Mayor of London, the GLA, the Theatres Trust, and leading professionals.  An independent Viability Study and Economic Impact Assessment, which has been crowd-funded with additional contributions from the GLA, the Theatres Trust and Lambeth Council, has been looking at options for the venue.  The Friends were recently registered as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation and are driving  moves to restore and reuse the theatre, a campaign which has huge local buy-in and support.

The theatre, together with surrounding residents and that part of the Streatham Business Community, would end up under the commission’s draft proposals in a ward represented by just two councillors whose clear focus would be on a community which identifies with Balham and Clapham.  The draft proposals are based on the consideration that the Hyde Farm area “looks towards Balham” and part of Streatham Hill is being hived off to make up the numbers.

The theatre belongs at the heart of the Streatham Hill area, as it is currently, in a strong three-member ward.  It shouldn’t be put on the periphery of a non-Streatham ward.  This would be hugely damaging both to the project itself and the regeneration and development of the wider area.

Have your say on the Boundary Commission web site by April 12th.

The full press release is here.

We are now on the Arts Map

The Friends of Streatham Hill Theatre has been included on the Arts Map, published by The Public Campaign for the Arts:

“Tens of thousands of people have joined the Public Campaign for the Arts, from every one of the UK’s 650 constituencies, coming together to urge a rescue package for our cultural sector.

“54 million people – over 80% of the population – engage with the arts in the UK every year. Imagine what we can achieve, if we all link up for the arts.”

Find us on the map here:

The Friends is now a registered charity

We have received confirmation from the Charity Commission that we have been recognised as a Charity.

We are now registered in England as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) Number CE024993 and  Registered Charity Number 1193643.

Our approved objectives are:


Campaign overview presentation launched

On our YouTube channel we now have an illustrated presentation of our campaign to date, created by our creative supporters team. Find out more about the theatre, its history and heritage and our campaign to save it.

Video presentation

Statement of Heritage Significance on Streatham Hill Theatre released, giving a remarkable look inside the dormant building

Today we have released information to the press:

  • The Statement of Heritage Significance by a leading international architecture firm brings together over 100 pictures and drawings to show that the 1920’s building is a potentially well preserved time capsule, but the clock is ticking
  • The statement says that its significant architectural heritage value must be taken into account in any plans for the 2,500 seat theatre
  • Also launched today, the Theatres Trust ‘Theatres at Risk’ register 2021 includes the theatre on its list of buildings at greatest risk
  • Multi award-winning choreographer and dancer, Akram Khan, announced as a Patron of the Friends of Streatham Hill Theatre campaign to save the building for public use

See the full press release online.

Note: the Statement of Heritage Significance has been updated since initial publication.

The book “A story of a suburban theatre” now available to purchase online

The book The Streatham Hill Theatre – The story of a suburban theatre by John Cresswell is now available to buy on our new online shop. There’s limited stock so hurry for that unique Christmas present!

UPDATE March 2021: Sorry we are now sold out but are hoping to arrange a reprint.

Announcing Nine Fabulous Patrons on the Theatre’s 91st Birthday

The announcement on what would have been the theatre’s 91st birthday, is some welcome good news at a time when the industry is in crisis.

The key points are:

  • South London’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ marks its 91st birthday on 20th November 2020.
  • Baroness Floella Benjamin, DBE, DL, Catherine Russell, Jessica Thom, Paul Merton, Renato Balsadonna, Robert Glenister, Samira Ahmed, Simon Callow, CBE and Sir Mark Rylance are the Patrons for the campaign to return the building to public use.
  • Over 100 creative industry individuals and organisations give their support to the campaign.

The campaign’s new Patrons are past and present Streatham or South London residents and join a long list of local business, members of the community, public bodies, and creative sector supporters who all agree the building should be returned to public use.

Paul Merton, Comedian, Improviser, Writer and Presenter said:

‘Such an amazing array of stars played at the Streatham Hill Theatre back in the day. It would be wonderful to see this beautiful theatre brought back to life so we could enjoy watching the next generation of performers tread its boards.’

Samira Ahmed, BBC Arts & News Presenter and Theatres Trust Ambassador said:

‘Opening up Streatham Hill Theatre to the public again would be truly exciting. What could be a finer community asset than this building?’

Sir Mark Rylance, Actor, Theatre Director and Playwright said:

‘I live very happily in South London as did my grandfather and great grandfather before me.  I totally support the amazing efforts of the Friends to reuse this gem of a building for the community as an arts and creative hub.’

Robert Glenister, Actor said:

‘I applaud the Friends’ campaign to bring this wonderful theatre back to life and help make Streatham the place to visit for creative entertainment, as it used to be many years ago.’

The full Press Release is available, and you can see more about our Patrons on the supporters page.

Artists image of vision frontage

Are you a potential future user?

In our vision for the revived SHT, as well as professional arts and entertainment, there will be a range of permanent and temporary spaces for rehearsal and performance use by local arts groups (e.g. drama, dance, music, choirs) and for use by community and education groups as meeting rooms, conference spaces, office and workspace, and for private events with hospitality.

To test the viability of these plans, we need to gauge the demand for the hire of the spaces within the building and what specific facilities are needed. 

We will be using an online survey designed to collect information on the hiring potential of spaces and facilities that could be available within a re-imagined Streatham Hill Theatre.

We’d like to hear from you as an individual or as a representative of an organisation. The survey will be emailed out to all our members and supporters, and other potential users, and is available here too. The survey will be available until Sunday 8th November 2020.

Major leap forward in plans to save Streatham Hill Theatre as leading consultants announced and begin work on viability study

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 FEI, 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.

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 full text of this press release can be found at

Calling all creatives!

The Friends of Streatham Hill Theatre’s campaign is calling on creative industry professionals to lend their support.

When we worked to publicise the crowdfund earlier in the year, the Friends were fortunate enough to receive the backing of Simon Callow CBE, Catherine Russell, Lolita Chakrabarti, Lucie Shorthouse, Samira Ahmed, Sir Mark Rylance and Baroness Floella Benjamin DBE, DL.  As we looked to reach out to others, we were amazed to find such strong past and present local creative industry connections, both in front of and behind the scenes.  This led us to put together our Vision Statement to send out to creative industry professionals, mostly, but not all, with Streatham or South London connections, who would want to see our wonderful ‘Sleeping Beauty’ of a theatre restored as a vibrant creative hub for the wider community.

We’re launching our list of individual creative industry supporters on the 91st birthday of Streatham Hill Theatre on the 20th November 2020.  In the meantime, we’re contacting creative industry companies and showing that they support the campaign by adding their logos here at our new website.   This is particularly important, as over the coming weeks, FEI, the consultants who won the tender for the viability study and economic impact assessment, will be wanting to look into any opportunities for collaboration as part of their studies.

We’d very much like to encourage any creative professionals or companies to email to be included, and for those on social media to help us spread the word about the Friends of Streatham Hill Theatre’s ongoing campaign!

Helena Breck, Jenny Eastop, Jane Goddard & Matt Haskins
FoSHT’s Creative Vision Statement Group