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.
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.
Used with permission from the authors.