Save Greenwich Theatre

I guess by my own blog rules this should be going into Parish News. But rules are made to be broken, especially ones you make yourself and this event has historic precedence.

The last time Greenwich Theatre was at risk, back in the late 1960s, the whole community got together and not only saved it from demolition and rebuilt it to an extremely high standard, they made the theatre a force to be truly reckoned with. Greenwich Theatre in the 1970s and 80s was massive, attracting every big star you could imagine.

Of course that all disappeared with the cash – first losing great swathes of money in the disastrous Glory of the Garden Arts Council review, more recently with the money quietly siphoned off from the arts to support the Olympics and, as far as I know, never reinstated afterwards.

The theatre survives and it is battling back. But the building is in danger. Sadly at the time that it was rebuilt by ordinary people’s generosity and hard work, they never imagined a time when a council would be so hostile as to even consider selling it off for – god knows what – housing, I assume – so they failed to buy the place and put it under covenant, which, in retrospect, probably would have been a good idea.

Of course, they never reckoned with the council of today. Sadly although the people of Greenwich own the theatre morally, having put in hard work and love, the council owns the building. And it’s looking hungrily at the land prices around Crooms Hill.

So once again the theatre needs saving. Not because, as it was in the 1960s, it’s falling down – the building’s just fine, thank you, but because of council greed.

When the building needed support last time around they held a series of regular Music Halls to support it. ‘Kitty Kelly’s’ they called it. If memory serves, it took place in the Green Man Pub (sadly long dead) up on the heath. They’re trying the same thing again, to raise awareness (and a war chest) but this time they actually have a place to hold it – the theatre itself.

It’s on Sunday 20 July 2014 at 7.30, ‘fun, laughter and song will sweep through Greenwich Theatre with the return of Kitty Kelly’s acclaimed Music Hall.

Featuring Mr Colin Sell (of R4 I’m Sorry, I Haven’t a Clue fame) on the pianoforte, Mr Robert Lister (founder member of Ewan Hooper’s 1969 Greenwich Theatre company) in the chair, supported by a talented cast including the inimitable Miss Colette Kelly and the irrepressible Mr Peter John.’

Back in the late 60s there was a bit of a Music Hall revival going on. I have no idea if there is now (though of course with the commmemorations of WWI going on the songs will be on every school curriculum) but I am nailing my colours to the mast now. I believe we need to save the theatre – putting it into a multi-use, mutilated Borough Hall is NOT an acceptable alternative – and I am behind the efforts to preserve the building 100%. This one is important.


the attachments to this post:

Greenwich Theatre
Greenwich Theatre


7 Comments to “Save Greenwich Theatre”

  1. Mr Woolwich says:

    I won’t be able to make the event, but I would like to make a donation, is there anything setup yet to do so?

  2. Taucher says:

    So, what does the council want to do? Have there been any plans submitted or any intention for the building voiced?

  3. QuaggyDipper says:

    What’s needed is permanent support for every production, not just Kitty Kelly’s Music Hall. How to get that support? Raise the money somehow to tart up the appallingly dismal bar and foyer. Put on decent professional productions with longer runs. That way we might eventually get an Arts Council Grant again

  4. I have to say I agree, QD. Much more could be made of the Foyer facilities and when they have the money to do their own productions (i.e. the panto) they’re a runaway success.

  5. WestCliff GB says:

    This post got me thinking but along with the mid-life crisis I now appear to have forgotten some key facts about a production at the theatre. It would have been sometime around 1982 but could have been a year either side.

    I’m certain I saw Vanessa (or Lynn, see what I mean??) Redgrave and two other A-list actors (they were actresses then) but I can’t seem to track it down online. Phant, can you or your ghoulie followers help me out on this one? Thank you in advance.

  6. Moral doesn’t buy a thing, sadly. Even if people have put their dear into the theatre, and I’ve heard stories from both my mother and grandmother, I think what the council does is a complete disgrace. This is a historical place, and every nation should focus on preserving their history, and its symbols. And of course, there are facilities of less historical importance, that can still generate money. I also sit firm behind every effort to save the Greenwich Theatre and will try to contribute as much as I can!

  7. Phil says:

    Probably a silly thought as I am not English, but any possibility to see a cooperation or bail out (call it as you want) with another theatre in London? – e.g. like Sadler’s Wells (which is from what I understand an arts organisation and registered UK charity).
    Maybe Greenwich theatre future is seeking an association with another creative theatre and getting a charity status?