Southwark Playhouse announces plans for permanent home from 2019

From 2019, the theatre will operate from two adaptable venues in London


Southwark Playhouse has announced plans to move in to a permanent space for the first time in its history, with two new spaces set to open in 2019.

The theatre was established 25 years ago, and since then it has occupied a series of temporary spaces in London. Now, the theatre will move to a flagship space in Elephant and Castle, and a satellite venue at London Bridge.

The flagship theatre will be located 5 minutes from the theatre’s current space on Newington Butts, with a 125-year lease. It will have a flexible 300-seat theatre, as well as a secondary studio space for the theatre’s youth, community and development work. A fit-out is scheduled to take place over the course of the next year, and the plan is to open the space in 2019.

A second venue will also open as part of the current London Bridge station redevelopment. Located at 10 Bermondsey Street – a former site of the theatre – the space will have two flexible spaces with 200 and 150 seats respectively. It will be used to promote new work by emerging dramatists, and will also have a dedicated rehearsal space. It is also planned to open in 2019.

The current venue will continue to operate through 2019, with a leaving date to be confirmed. The building will then be turned into flats over the coming years.

Operating from two venues will see the capacity of Southwark Playhouse increase from 350 to 650-700, and the physical space of the theatre increase from 1,250m2 to 2,560m2.

It is estimated the cost of the project will be £3million, with one-third of the funds already raised. The theatre has launched a crowd-funding artwork initiative which will asks the public to donate £50 in return for a custom design to be printed on the wall at the new venue. There will be 40,000 spaces for artwork. More information is available here.

Artitic director of the theatre Chris Smyrnios said: “The decision to have two Southwark Playhouses from 2019 onwards came about as a series of twists and turns in our bid to find a permanent home and over the past two years, it has become increasingly clear that this development is an absolutely necessary one for our organisation.

“It means we can continue our good work but also significantly increase the opportunities we can offer to local Southwark residents and new and emerging theatre artists. There’s a lot to do but I genuinely can’t wait to welcome everyone into our new homes from – funding pending - next year!”

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