Streatham Hill Theatre
Streatham Hill Theatre is a grand-scale theatre, built in the late 1920s as part of the new developments which made Streatham the ‘West End of South London’. It staged theatre, variety, ballet, opera, pantomimes etc. right up to 1962, when it re-opened as a Mecca bingo.
In recent years the owners Beacon Bingo let community groups such as Streatham Festival, Streatham Film Festival and Streatham Theatre stage events in the building. Bingo continued right up until January 2017 when it closed, leaving it as a slot machine operation, and no longer available to the community.
Friends of Streatham Hill Theatre
The Friends of Streatham Hill Theatre are concerned the building may be lost to development or abandonment and want to save it for the benefit of the community. As well as being a beautiful and significant building it is the last of the large venues remaining in Streatham Hill – Caesars (originally Locarno Ballroom) and the Megabowl (Gaumont Cinema) have gone. There is nowhere comparable in size or with such facilities as this theatre.
The building has retained much of its original grandeur and is Grade 2 Listed. It has also been granted Asset of Community Value (ACV) status by Lambeth. This means that should the owners wish to sell the community has an opportunity to buy. The owners recently asked Lambeth to review ACV status but Lambeth have confirmed that ACV status should remain.
But just saving a building is not enough, it needs to have a new purpose. The Friends would like to see the building return to an arts, cultural or performance use for the benefit of the community. This could be through a suitable organisation taking over, or by the community taking the building on itself – as a centre or hub with co-working, studios, rehearsal and performance spaces, hosting events and activities for the community.
The Friends have recently crowdfunded to raise money for a viability study to show how a rejuvenated theatre building will help the local community and economy.
A total of £48,000 has been raised, including:
- <£19,500 from nearly 450 individuals,
- £15,000 from the Mayor of London
- £7,500 from Lambeth, and
- <£6,000 from Theatres Trust
We will be putting a tender out for consultants to do the work soon.
You can join the campaign at www.streathamhilltheatre.org.
Get involved with Streatham Hill Theatre
If you would like to get involved with supporting Friends of Streatham Hill Theatre, you can join the campaign at www.streathamhilltheatre.org. They hold regular fortnightly campaign meetings, currently online, so join them then to find out more.
Alternatively Streatham Festival can pass on your message if you complete the box on the right.