Streatham, South London, UK 020 358 249 12

Grade II listing granted: 22nd September 1994

The theatre was granted a Grade 2 listing in 1994 as “an unusually lavish example of a theatre built in the short-lived revival of building in 1929-30; as a suburban example of this date the building may be unique”.

Much of the original theatre, its interior features, and its equipment remain, with only relatively minor changes having been made to accommodate bingo.

Britain’s biggest bingo hall opens: 14th November 1962

Mecca had acquired the building in 1962 and on Wednesday 14th November 1962, the Streatham Hill Theatre opened its doors again as the biggest bingo casino in the country. Despite heavy rain around 2000 came to attend the first session.

The Final Curtain for theatre: 9th June 1962

When the curtain fell for the Saturday evening performance of ‘The Rehearsal‘ it would turn out to be the final curtain. The theatre remained dark through the summer of 1962.

Repaired theatre reopens: 23rd December 1950

Repairs after the bomb damage from 1944 were delayed as homes took priority for rebuilding. The theatre was rebuilt with a few changes from the original plans.

The Streatham Hill Theatre eventually reopened on Boxing Day 1950 with the pantomime “Cinderella”, a re-staging of the 1942-43 production. 

1942-43 Cinderella

Serious Bomb Damage: 3rd July 1944

At 6.30am on the morning of Monday 3rd July 1944 a flying bomb destroyed the side wall of the theatre.

Sleeping inside the theatre was an air-raid warden and his family on fire-watch duty. The bomb blew a gaping hole 60ft in diameter, damaging much of the interior and both sides of the proscenium arch.  The only fatality was the warden’s mother-in-law.  The extent of the damage was such that the theatre was closed for many years to come.

Theatre opens: 20th November 1929

The Streatham Hill Theatre was due to open, offering “West End shows at provincial prices”, on Monday 18th November 1929, but wasn’t quite ready.

It was ready enough to open on the Wednesday, 20th November 1929, with the C. B. Cochran revue Wake up and Dream.

A lavish programme was published telling the story of the theatre and its features. The Stage newspaper covered the opening in its 21st November edition, saying that “The Theatre on Streatham Hill provides south side suburbs with a playhouse of which they can be justly proud.

Foundation Stone Laye’d: 6th September 1928

Over 90 years ago local resident and international celebrity of stage and screen, Evelyn Laye laid the foundation stone for the Streatham Hill Playhouse as it was originally to be known.

Magnificent New Theatre for Streatham

The Norwood News of 31 August 1928 featured plans for the new Streatham Hill Theatre as part of a larger development to include a cinema and palais de danse. See the front page here, with thanks to Streatham Society.

Norwood News 31 August 1928

A new theatre for the “West End of South London”: 26th October 1927

Streatham Hill Theatre (SHT) was designed by W. G. R Sprague and W. H.
Barton, with a capacity of around 2800 and a stage the size of the London
Palladium. It formed part of Streatham’s theatre and entertainment offer when the area was known as “The West End of South London” and (due to the wealth of talent living in the area) as “The Beverly Hills of London”.

W. G. R. Sprague was also the architect responsible for some of the most beautiful and well-known theatres in central London.

Image of front elevation drawing

The London County Council approved the plans on 26th October 1927.