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

Jim McManus, Actor, Remembers…

Staś Smagala interviews 83-year-old retired actor and Streatham resident, Jim McManus. Jim still has a few fond memories of his days as a touring actor and performing at the theatre.

Jim McManus Remembers Streatham Hill Theatre
Jim McManus Remembers Streatham

Part of our memories project.

We’re part of Streatham Festival 8-17 October 2021

We’re pleased to announce that we will be taking part in this year’s Streatham Festival.

Find out more here.

Next campaign meeting to be physical and online

We hold regular campaign meetings every four weeks on Wednesdays at 8pm. 

During COVID these have been held online. For our next meeting on 8th September we will be trialling a hybrid meeting, with a physical meeting and a Zoom in parallel.

Please register as usual to get joining instructions, then you can decide whether to come along in person, or join via Zoom. 

See how online meetings work

Memories from Canada

I have resided in Vancouver, Canada for 40+ years but visit UK (until COVID) twice a year to see family, friends and go to the beloved theatre.

My brother and I were brought up in Streatham/Norbury and I went to school at Streatham Hill High close to the theatre. I did not become an actor but worked behind the camera as a feature film Script Supervisor on major productions all over the world for 40 years fuelled by my love for theatre.

In the late 50s my mother took me to the Streatham Hill Theatre every Tuesday evening when it was cheap night and I made her wait with me at the stage door for me to collect autographs. I still have the small book in my possession, with Janette Scott, Margaret Rutherford, Dirk Bogarde, and many other autographs on the pages.

Thank you for the wonderful work you are doing.

Christine Wilson

More Theatre Programmes Donated

We have been sent a few old programmes from the theatre, in memory of Mr Victor and Mrs Winifred Ward who enjoyed a number of shows, including:

  • Oklahoma
  • Call Me Madam
  • Zip Goes a Million
  • South Pacific
  • The Little Hut
  • And So To Bed

These will join our growing archive of programmes from the theatre’s heydays.

Programme Seals

As a child I certainly went to the Streatham Hill Theatre to see pantomimes, but unfortunately I have no memories of going there. I do remember that the programmes (which I think cost 6d) were secured with a paper seal, which you broke to read the programme. All this was presumably to prevent people selling the programme: was it really justified? I think not.

Robert Holden

Supporting our Imaginarium at Streatham Festival 2021

The Friends of Streatham Hill Theatre are really excited to launch a sponsorship opportunity for their ‘Imaginarium‘ project.

Taking place during the Streatham Festival, curated by leading venue design practice studio three sixty°, this project will allow the local community to dream of a big future for our forgotten venue.

We want all parts of the community to be able to take part, to help explore how a revitalised theatre might be used, and even look. We are particularly want to involve those who are marginalised, and might not normally have their views heard.

For that reason, we will not be charging entry to the Imaginarium, or to take part in its workshops.

We are therefore looking for Event Partners who share our goals to support us in delivering this project through sponsorship.

If community involvement in the future of our local area is important to you, your business and your local customers, please get in touch by email at community@streathamhilltheatre.org to discuss the different opportunities.

P.S. We are also looking for nominations for local community groups who would like to take part and tell us what they would like to see in the venue.

Do you have memories of Streatham Hill Theatre?

The Friends would love to hear any personal memories you have relating to the theatre, which we can publish here on this website.

We are also interested in images and photos, videos, posters, programmes etc. relating to Streatham Hill Theatre to add to our growing archive.

Please get in touch by email or phone, or come to a campaign meeting.

Streatham Theatre Company’s blog has also been collecting memories of Streatham, including a number involving Streatham Hill Theatre.

The Streatham Astoria – a rival venue

The Astoria, a rival to Streatham Hill Theatre opened on Monday June 30th 1930 at 7.30 p.m. with the film Paris. It is currently a multi-screen Odeon.

Geoff Gill (Former Chief Technician) gives an overview of its history on the Odeon Cavalcade website http://www.mawgrim.co.uk/cavalcade/streatham.htm

Letters to The Stage 27th May 2021: Let’s wake our ‘sleeping beauty’

Picking up on two articles in last week’s (May 20) issue (Editor’s View: ‘We should cherish the West End’s long-runners’, p6; David Benedict: ‘In the West End, size may be everything’, p7), can I throw another requirement in the mix: ‘position’, together with a radical suggestion, related to all these issues.

The Theatres Trust maintains a list of venues under threat, the issues concerning the threat to these theatres invariably being size, position and viable product flow.

One of the theatres in the current list is Streatham Hill Theatre, described on the Theatres Trust’s website as “a sleeping beauty”. It is, as anyone who has visited can attest, and is only a few hundred metres from the London South Circular and a little further from the Victoria underground line.

Why not transfer one of the current long-running West End musicals to south London’s very accessible Streatham Hill Theatre, where the show can continue, relieving a currently locked-out theatre by allowing it to stage new productions?

In south London, the arrival of a major proven tourist attraction would be a great ‘regenerator’ initiative, giving a fantastic theatre a new life while also bringing new life to local business, housing and work opportunities. The present owner, a large German leisure company, may even want to take a part in delivering this suggestion. Debate.

Roger Edwards

Trafalgar Entertainment’s planned new Olympia Theatre (Trafalgar to operate London’s largest new theatre in decades, May 20, p3) is probably the largest since the Streatham Hill Theatre was opened in 1929 with a capacity of around 2,800. The theatre is now no longer in use and there’s a campaign to reopen this ‘sleeping beauty’: see streathamhilltheatre.org for more.

David Harvey

Used with permission from the authors.