Four of London’s older theatres are currently on a risk register with their long term future uncertain. While there’s been much comment about the effects of the pandemic on the people who work in the theatres, the buildings themselves also need funds to be looked after.
Every theatre on the list has strong architectural or cultural heritage and, crucially, the potential to be returned to performance use and be a real asset to its community.
The Granada Theatre in Walthamstow was built in 1930, and converted into a cinema in 1973, but has been empty since 2003. Fortunately, this building is set to be restored following an agreement with the council.
The Intimate Theatre in Palmers Green was originally a church hall, but was converted into a theatre in 1935 until 1969. Since 1988 it’s been used as a community centre with a smaller theatre space and doubles up a church hall.
Streatham Hill Theatre was built in 1929 and is one of the largest theatres outside the West End, with a remarkable interior design. Damaged in WW2, it was restored but was later converted into a bingo hall. Even that has now closed, leaving just the front of the building for gambling machines and the rest is left empty.
There is a local campaign to bring the theatre back into use when the current lease expires in a few years time.
The Tottenham Palace Theatre is the only complete example in London of a theatre by the architects Wylson and Long and one of the few surviving big suburban variety palaces.
Built in 1908, it was converted to a cinema in 1926, and then to a bingo hall in 1969. In 1997 it was converted into a church but is now suffering from water damage.