Streatham, South London, UK info@streathamhilltheatre.org 020 3582 4912

Streatham Hill Theatre re-visioned in Lego

Ian Howells has created an amazing Lego model, based on the artist impression of a future Streatham Hill Theatre. His photos show the incredible detail of his magnificent model.

Streatham Hill Theatre added to SAVE Britain’s Heritage Buildings at Risk Register 2022

Today, 29th June, Save Britain’s Heritage (SAVE), has added Streatham Hill Theatre to its Buildings at Risk Register 2022 which highlights historic buildings whose future is uncertain, and ultimately seeks to return them to use and secure the buildings’ futures.

Photo Tim Hatcher

David Harewood MBE and Jools Holland OBE DL have today become Patrons of The Friends of Streatham Hill Theatre campaign to find a sustainable solution to the future of the building, and promote its return to use as an arts and culture venue for the community. Other Patrons of the campaign include: Baroness Floella Benjamin, DBE, DL, Samira Ahmed, and Sir Mark Rylance.

Also today, broadcast journalism students at the University of Westminster have published online a student documentary featuring Sherwood star, and campaign Patron, Robert Glenister, and others, covering the history of the Theatre, its importance, and the campaign to save it.

Responding to these announcements, David Harvey, Chair, The Friends of Streatham Hill Theatre said “These developments demonstrate yet more recognition for the majestic Streatham Hill Theatre, its historic importance, and the breadth and depth of support in the community for the building to be rejuvenated for a future in arts and culture.”

Further statements:
‘The prospect of bringing back to life a theatre in South London, with a stage the equivalent size of the Palladium, is very exciting. My friend the late Chris Barber and his jazz band played there in the fifties, and it would be so wonderful to see the Streatham Hill Theatre filled with all kinds of music once again. I’m delighted to add my support to this important campaign to save it.”
Jools Holland OBE DL, Pianist, Composer, Bandleader, Singer and Broadcaster

“Theatre and the Creative Arts are so important for people’s well-being, which is just one of the reasons I’m fully behind the Friends’ campaign to bring this very special building back to life as a beating heart for our wonderful Streatham community and beyond.”
David Harewood MBE, Actor, Director, Presenter and Author

“If it can be preserved as a historical venue and as a performing venue as well, then, best of both worlds.”
Robert Glenister, Actor

“With dazzlingly opulent interiors, this exceptional 1920s theatre is an important part of London’s rich cultural history. Remarkably little altered since it opened, it is well-suited to being brought back into use as a performance venue. SAVE Britain’s Heritage is today adding it to our Buildings at Risk Register as the theatre has lain largely disused for some time and is highly vulnerable to redevelopment. Fortunately, The Friends of Streatham Hill Theatre have a vision to bring the theatre back into use for the community. SAVE wholeheartedly supports their initiative.”
Henrietta Billings, Director, SAVE Britain’s Heritage

“The addition of the Streatham Hill Theatre to the Save Britain’s Heritage’s latest At Risk Register is a significant step in the ongoing efforts to protect this hidden gem in the heart of Streatham.

“Together with the Friends of Streatham Hill Theatre, Lambeth Council is committed to doing all we can to celebrate its rich history and safeguard its future.

“The campaign has captured everyone’s imagination in Streatham and beyond, and to have so many talented artists, actors and musicians backing the cause show the strength of feeling for this historic venue.”
Cllr Donatus Anyanwu, Lambeth Council Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities, Leisure and Sport

“The stunning Streatham Hill Theatre has enormous potential to be restored to its former glory, and used once again as a centre for the arts and creativity.

“The Council should do everything possible to support The Friends of Streatham Hill Theatre ensuring the site is designated as an Asset of Community Value way past its current end-date of July 2023, and to attract funding for the project. There is the opportunity for a cultural centre that would benefit all ages and all communities here in Lambeth.

“Meanwhile, preserving and renovating the theatre for future generations would draw more people to Streatham from all over London, helping to reinvent Europe’s longest high street.”
Cllr Donna Harris, Councillor for Streatham Hill West & Thornton Ward and Group Leader, Lambeth Liberal Democrats

“Since we added Streatham Hill Theatre to our Theatres at Risk Register in 2017, we have been working with the Friends group and other interested parties to find a viable long-term use for this unique theatre. We are delighted to see that support for this cause is growing and we hope that together, Streatham Hill Theatre can be restored, reopened and returned to use as a valuable asset to its local community and high street.”
Claire Appleby, Architecture Adviser, Theatres Trust

The full press released is here (PDF).

Two more high profile Patrons

David Harewood, MBE and Jools Holland, OBE, DL have today become Patrons of The Friends of Streatham Hill Theatre campaign to find a sustainable solution to the future of the building, and promote its return to use as an arts and culture venue for the community. Other Patrons of the campaign include: Baroness Floella Benjamin, DBE, DL, Samira Ahmed, and Sir Mark Rylance.

David Harewood – Photo The Harper Edit

‘Theatre and the Creative Arts are so important for people’s well-being, which is just one of the reasons I’m fully behind the Friends’ campaign to bring this very special building back to life as a beating heart for our wonderful Streatham community and beyond.’

Jools Holland – Photo Felix TW

‘The prospect of bringing back to life a theatre in South London, with a stage the equivalent size of the Palladium, is very exciting. My friend the late Chris Barber and his jazz band played there in the fifties, and it would be so wonderful to see the Streatham Hill Theatre filled with all kinds of music once again. I’m delighted to add my support to this important campaign to save it.’

Broadcast journalism student video features the campaign

Today, broadcast journalism students at the University of Westminster have published online a student documentary featuring Sherwood star, and campaign Patron, Robert Glenister, and others, covering the history of Streatham Hill Theatre, its importance, and the campaign to save it.

A team of University of Westminster MA Broadcast Journalism students, led by Neha Suryavanshi, looked to make a documentary about London losing so many historic buildings, choosing to focus on Streatham Hill Theatre.  They interviewed various people supporting the Friends’ campaign.  The documentary is published on our YouTube channel. Neha can be contacted at w1854011@my.westminster.ac.uk

Notice of AGM 13th July 2022

NOTICE is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of

The Friends of Streatham Hill Theatre will be held

at Vinters Studio 2, 1b Sunnyhill Road, London SW16 2UG

at 8pm on Wednesday 13th July 2022

to transact the following business:


Agenda(a)

1. Apologies(e)

2. Minutes of last AGM held 16th June 2021(c)

            Matters arising and acceptance

3. Receive reports from Trustees(c)

4. Receive financial statements and report from the Treasurer(c)

5. Election of Trustees(c, d)

7. Other business of The Friends

By order of the Board of Trustees

Jeremy Clyne, Secretary

The Friends of Streatham Hill Theatre CIO

Registered in England:

Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) Number CE024993

Registered Charity Number 1193643

Registered office: 1b Sunnyhill Road, London, SW16 2UG

info@streathamhilltheatre.org   

www.streathamhilltheatre.org

Notes

(a) Note that this is the first AGM of The Friends of Streatham Hill Theatre as a CIO, under its new CIO Constitution. The previous AGM in 2021 was held as an unincorporated association under the original Constitution.

(b) The CIO Constitution is published here: http://resources.streathamhilltheatre.org/friends/The%20Friends%20of%20Streatham%20Hill%20Theatre%20CIO%20Constitution.pdf

(c) Supporting documents and forms are published here: http://resources.streathamhilltheatre.org/friends

(d) As this is the first AGM of the CIO, all existing Trustees stand down and are eligible for re-election. Members may nominate candidates using the nomination form(c)  In subsequent years, one third of the Trustees stand down and are eligible for re-election.

(e) If unable to attend, members may appoint a proxy using the appointment form(c)

Marking 60 years since ‘The Rehearsal’ closed Streatham Hill Theatre

9 June 2022 marks the sad fact that it’s been 60 years since Streatham Hill Theatre – once THE place for West End transfers – last staged a theatrical performance before becoming a bingo hall. When the curtain fell on ‘The Rehearsal‘ on 9 June 1962 it would be the final curtain for shows at one of London’s most lavish theatres. To this day most of the theatre remains intact, its heritage and future potential recognised by Historic England, Theatres Trust & many more.

To mark this 60th anniversary, we look to the past and to the future for inspiration to save this historic building for the community with two exciting new developments.

Firstly, we publish Sir Tom Courtenay’s memories of Streatham Hill Theatre in a new addition to our ‘Memories’ project, a rich and growing set of stories about this historic theatre and its place in the community. Listen here: http://streathamhilltheatre.org/tom-courtenay-talks-about…

And looking to an exciting future, we call for ‘Your Visions for Streatham Hill Theatre’. We ask you to share with us your selfie videos of what a rejuvenated Streatham Hill Theatre would mean to you. Find out how to share your vision here: http://streathamhilltheatre.org/about/your-visions

Send us Your Visions for Streatham Hill Theatre

The Friends would like to know Your Visions for Streatham Hill Theatre!

We’re looking to the future, and asking you to take a short selfie video, describing what a rejuvenated SHT would mean to you. 

We’d like to hear the clear voice of local people of all ages and backgrounds, and especially those of the younger generation.  We also want to hear from local schools, choirs, orchestras, music, drama and dance groups as well as local businesses and residents. 

Find out more here.

Sir Tom Courtenay talks about Billy Liar at Streatham Hill Theatre

In this interview with photographer Stephanie Black, our Memories Project lead, Sir Tom Courtenay talks about his life as an actor, including his role in Billy Liar, the play, at Streatham Hill Theatre, which was subsequently turned into a film in which he starred. There is a transcript (PDF) available.


Update on recent developments in May 2022

In the last few weeks we have seen interest in the theatre by a development company, and have now heard of its sale to an new freeholder. Here’s a summary of what we know about the situation so far…

Behind the scenes and under a cloak of confidentiality, the Friends had been delighted to learn of the plans of a theatre company to buy the freehold and turn the building back into a working theatre and community hub. Their ambitions, both short and long term, for the site appeared to be extremely exciting and they had the backing of various stakeholders such as Theatres Trust, Historic England and Lambeth Council. They had been in negotiations with the theatre’s owners for some months and we were told they had made what they described as a generous offer for the freehold.

However, we have now been informed that their offer was turned down, and that the freeholder has now sold the building to new owners. Unfortunately, as the freehold has been sold with a tenant in situ, the Asset of Community Value opportunity to bid doesn’t come into play.

After writing to the various parties involved, we quickly heard verbally from one of the new owners. They are a group of individuals who have purchased the freehold as a medium to long term investment. He’s already opened a conversation with the theatre company bidder and is willing to talk to the Friends too. This contrasts greatly with the lack of communications from the previous freeholder!

The theatre company bidders aren’t giving up. They’re still up for either purchasing the freehold from the new owners or negotiating a decent lease with them.

Be assured that the Friends will continue to follow developments closely, and do everything we can to preserve this precious heritage building and see it returned as a fully working arts, culture and community hub for South London. We continue to work with Lambeth, Theatres Trust and Historic England, GLA and others. We are always in need of more help with the campaign, and these are clearly uncertain times for us, so please join or support our hardworking team of volunteers.  If you have communication, legal, campaigning or any other skills and experience that you think might help us, please email us.

Streatham Hill: the greatest entertainment centre in Britain

Back in 1970, Eric Morley, head of Mecca and founder of Miss World, called Streatham Hill “the greatest entertainment centre in Britain”.

At that time there was:

  • the Streatham Hill Theatre, which became the flagship Mecca Bingo Club in 1962
  • the Gaumont Palace cinema, which became the Streatham Bowl bowling alley also in 1962
  • the Streatham Astoria, a cinema theatre, reopened in 1961 as the Odeon
  • the ABC cinema, formerly the Regal prior to 1960
  • the Locarno ballroom renamed in 1969 as the Cat’s Whiskers Club
  • the ice rink, renamed Silver Blades (also in 1962)