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Regeneration of Streatham Hill Theatre would kickstart local high street revival, report finds

The venue would bring additional footfall to the area

Streatham Hill Theatre
© Tim Hatcher

An independent report has called for Streatham Hill Theatre to restart performances to aid the high street's recovery.

The report states that the return to live performances "could play a major role in leading the post-Covid high-street recovery, developing the 15-minute neighbourhood, increasing localised co-working opportunities and ultimately making a significant economic contribution to the regeneration of this part of London".

Opening in 1929 and designed by W G R Sprague, the space has a capacity of 2,800, and was used predominantly as a bingo hall in recent years. It was subsequently added to the Theatres Trust's Theatres at Risk Register in 2017.

Further comments in the report state that, over a ten-year period, the space could "grow to become a major commercially operated large capacity 'number-one receiving house' for south London, presenting a broad programme of music and comedy, big musicals and pantomime catering to diverse local interests, providing good jobs to the community."

The report has proposed both short term solutions (including the use of the auditorium for rehearsals, fringe activities and more) as well as long term ambitions including a full refurbishment.

Councillor Sonia Winifred, Cabinet Member for Equalities and Culture at Lambeth Council: "Historically Lambeth has an established landmark of theatres and a community of dedicated theatre goers. The Council recognises this much-loved community asset that is the ‘Streatham Hill Theatre' and fully supports the community's commitment to deliver a diverse and much needed theatre at the heart of Streatham."

The venue's relative distanced from similarly sized venues in Wimbledon and Croydon may give it a local audiences, the report concludes, "contributing to the notion of a ‘15-minute neighbourhood', which as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic has become an ambition for boroughs across London."

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