The Ups and Downs of Thespis

This morning got off to a really good start. A press release in my inbox cheered me right up and I was just about to do a jolly piece about it, when I came across this timely and worrying post by 853 Blog that talks of the iminent and very real threat to the Woolwich Grand theatre, next door to the town hall in Woolwich and the more distant but equally serious threat to Greenwich theatre.

I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here by rehashing what Darryl has to say, but I seriously recommend you read the article and worry. Woolwich Grand may have only been around for a couple of years, but it has been welcomed by Woolwich people and run with passion. There may be a need for housing, but there is also a need for community and if every venue/facility gets turned into micro-apartments then a town stops being a town and starts being a dormitory.

Greenwich Theatre’s closure would not just mean the loss of an important facility but would betray the people of the 1960s and 70s who put everything they had into not just saving but reinventing a hugely important institution. Its glory days may have gone (ironically with the ‘glory’ of the garden…) but it is still hugely, hugely important to Greenwich. Heaven forbid the day comes but if it does, The Phantom will be first to haunt the barricades.

Darryl’s post makes grim reading, but like Pandora’s box, after all the misery, right at the bottom of the feature lingers one little ray of hope – which brings me back to the press release I received this morning. We are to get a new studio theatre, in the bowels of the Cutty Sark.

© National Maritime Museum, London

As you’ll see from the size of it, there’s no way the Cutty Sark Studio Theatre can begin to compete with Greenwich Theatre in size or versatility (though I seem to remember it’s been collaborating with GT) but any new performance space is a plus and I for one am delighted.

They’re starting the season off with some starry names: Alan Davies, Sir Robin Knox-Johnson, Ross Noble, Richard Herring, plus some student and community shows.

The website’s got a glitch at the moment, but they’re promising it’s going to be working by Wednesday.


the attachments to this post:

© National Maritime Museum, London
Cutty Sark Comedy night


7 Comments to “The Ups and Downs of Thespis”

  1. Helena says:

    Thanks for the heads up Phant, what an awesome looking line up they’ve got! I’ll be first in the queue Btw have you tried out the eastwickhambrewery yet? http://ewbrewery.com/about-us.html

    Perfect for a pre theatre tipple as its just round the corner and had a feeling it would be right up your street – they have the new woolwich brewery beer and it’s a bit quirky, big emphasis on London brewers….went on sunday to some old style “jazz” live music….

  2. Jack Cross says:

    Totally agree regarding East Wickham Brewery aka The Old Loyal Britons, the pub formerly known as SE10. Thames St.
    Great beer in a characterful (yes, agree quirky) pub at around £3:20 a pint in central Greenwich……..
    It’s a work in progress but well worth supporting IMO

  3. Helena says:

    Oh yes, forgot to mention it’s certainly cheap… At least compared to Union/Hare and Billet which are great in their own way…

  4. Tim says:

    Ah yes but do they realise they’ll be acting against a background of polished brass plate?
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/letters/10476316/Where-has-Greenwichs-maritime-heritage-gone.html

  5. James Harlan says:

    Should I say that there’s always sunshine after the rain? Am glad that there’s a hope and congratulations for getting a new studio.

  6. Craig Oaks says:

    There is enough bar room space for these comics from the BBC canteen to stand about and blurp!!!!
    The point here is losing another performance space in the Theatre mbadly programmed and rubbish as it is.
    We are still waiting for the far superior Greenwich Playhouse to get up and running again.
    Its not just about a short comedy festival, hotels and beer.

  7. Paddy says:

    Do Helena and Jack work for the East Wickham Brewery? I popped in for a pint after reading their comments above. Big mistake – one of the worst pubs I’ve been in for a long time – no atmosphere, poor service, average beer and really in need of a good clean. Avoid at all costs..