Streatham, South London, UK 020 358 249 12

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.

Prime Minister Winston Churchill drops in for a show!

On 18th August 1952, Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister, made a surprise visit to the Theatre to see D’Oyly Carte’s The Yeomen of the Guard. Despite the secrecy, the stationing of two policemen outside soon aroused curiosity and there was a crowd waiting as first Christopher Soames arrived, and then Mr and Mrs Churchill.

The Churchills at SHT

They were greeted by James Perry and Frederic Lloyd, the general manager of the D’Oyly Carte Company. The party’s seats were in the front stalls, and as they entered the audience rose and clapped. In the interval they went to the Theatre Board Room where they were entertained. They signed the Theatre autograph book which also contained signatures of many famous stars.

The Churchills and James Perry

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.

The Stage: Streatham Hill Playhouse opening

The Stage 07 Nov 1929

The new Streatham Hill Playhouse will open on November 11, when the company now playing “Hold Everything” at the Palace Theatre will supply the opening attraction. The Stage 7/11/1929.

As it happens opening was delayed due to incomplete work until 20th November 1929.

Share Issue for Streatham Hill Playhouse Ltd

Streatham Hill Playhouse Share Application
Streatham Hill Playhouse Share Application

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