That Niggling Feeling…

… when I read the latest edition of Greenwich Time.

When a newspaper that is the unashamed mouthpiece of the council uses such weasel words as “the borough is also working with the [Greenwich] theatre to explore the future of the building” without even attempting to jazz it up, alarm bells start ringing in my spectral ears.

They’re somewhat clumsily trying to make it look like a good news story – a ‘boost for the arts,’ no less – bigging up the old borough hall as a new hub for the performing arts – which to me just reads as’a way to close down the theatre by pretending to move it into the old borough hall.’

I mean – c’mon – if it was a good ‘future of the building’ Greenwich Time would have been all over the lovely, exciting possiblities like a particularly virilant rash. It’s the sin of omission, GT – when you’re desperate to make everything the council does look good, missing something like that out sounds bloomin’ ominous to me.

Back in the 1960s the people of Greenwich – not just the posh ones – everybody – went to incredible lengths to not only save Greenwich Theatre but to rebuild it and create something quite extraordinary – a force to be reckoned with in 1970s and 80s theatre, attracting major, A-lister stars. Just google within this blog and you’ll find loads of references to the recent history of the place – it’s impressive.

Sadly, thanks to the savage cuts of the 1990s and beyond it’s no longer able to keep up the kind of starry presence it had, but Greenwich Theatre is still an important venue. We owe it to the residents who saved it for us, to keep a close eye on what the council intend to do with not just the theatre but the building – if not for ourselves, for the generation that comes after us.

At the moment, this is just a niggle at the back of my tricorn. But I – and many other residents, if my postbag is to be believed – will be watching this story closely. If there is the slightest whiff of anything – well – how shall I put it…evil…I’ll be manning those barricades faster than the entire cast of Les Miserables.

the attachments to this post:

Greenwich Theatre
Greenwich Theatre

5 Comments to “That Niggling Feeling…”

  1. JOF says:

    I used to enjoy my trips from the hinterland up to Greenwich for some ‘proper’ theatre, and so much easier than the trek up to the West End. The last play I recall seeing was Caesar and Cleopatra with Alec McCowen and Amanda Root in the early 90s. Then the Govt funding stopped, these sort of productions stopped and, I’m afraid, I stopped.

  2. Nathan says:

    We were there a couple of weeks ago, for a sold out show no less. Funnily enough, on the way out we were talking about all the names on the walls of all of those who must have donated to save the theatre last time. Very sad news if this is indeed on the cards. Perhaps the council should ask some of the devlopers of all the concrete boxes that are going up, at an alarming rate, to contribute to its future. Certainly a better use of money than the rather sorry looking ‘garden’ the Greenwich Square developers have supposedly contributed towards.

  3. Craig Oaks says:

    The ‘Theatre’ as it is at the moment is a fairly dismal experience.
    If you were at a sold out show it must be one of the few in a programme that has few attractions. The last thing I saw there had a cast wandering about in ill- fitting dungarees and bits of cardboard announcing ‘ big brother is watching you’ – it was dire. I have seen better efforts at theatrical musterings in the street outside No.10 by a bunch of drunks.
    What we need in this borough is what the Greenwich Playhouse offered – a mini rep type theatre with some standards of play, costume, sets etc.
    It was not spot-on all the time, but at least the founding ‘Galleon’ company offered something always first rate.
    Does anyone know if the lamentable council (who waste our money and time on the ‘Theatre’) ever helped in any way in finding the company a new base?
    They never seem to have any problems finding and allowing dodgy churches to open all over the place!!!

  4. Mary says:

    Nathan – what ‘sorry looking garden’ – do you mean the garden set up as therapy for pain relief patients outside the health centre??

  5. Nathan says:

    Hi Mary. No, I think that garden looks great. We had a news letter from the Heart of East Greenwich developers to say they had put some money towards some plants at Maze Hill station itself – I will try and get some photos. Chelsea Flower Show it ain’t! Ps… The trains have become increasingly packed and still no news on the timetable changes for the London bridge works. What are they going to like all the developments are finished?