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.

The Theatres Trust, the national advisory body for theatres, has listed 31 theatres across the UK as being at risk of demolition, redevelopment or permanent closure — of which four are in London.

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.

Granada Theatre (c) Theatres Trust

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.

Intimate Theatre (c) Theatres Trust

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.

Streatham Hill Theatre (c) Theatres Trust

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.

Tottenham Palace Theatre (c) Theatres Trust

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2 comments
  1. Graham Forsdyke says:

    You said
    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.

    Not so. It was originally a cinema from day one. Also used for concerts. Converted into multi screen in 1973

  2. Beryl says:

    Unfortunately Enfield Council gave the go-ahead for the demolition of the Intimate Theatre, Palmers Green to be replaced with a new church hall and six flats. This used to be a very active theatre. I can recall great evenings spent there with Jake Thackery and Rowan Atkinson being stand outs.

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