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.
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.