And now for something completely different: Accomplice London
The play that made me leave at the interval

Help save the Southwark Playhouse

Logo Am quite fond of the Southwark Playhouse which is nestle underneath the railway arches at London Bridge Station. The rumbling trains overhead, the exposed brickwork, the higgledy-piggledy homey feel of the bar area and of course its myriad of great productions. Admittedly not everything I've seen there has been absolutely wonderful but then neither has everything I've seen at the National Theatre just down the river.

The great thing about Southwark Playhouse is that it is cheap - the airline style ticket seating is a great idea - and when you are as addicted to the theatre as I am, with finite resources, it's one of the few places I can get my fix without having to rob a small child of their dinner money.

But all that is in jeapardy. London Bridge Station is being redeveloped and the plans for the station don't include a home for the Southwark Playhouse. Imagine being asked to leave the room while it's spruced up for the party and then not invited back.

The station redevelopment won't be complete until 2018 and the theatre can find temporary space but really wants a permanant home back at the station. The Southwark Playhouse team is asking people to email the planners requesting that space be made for the theatre in the redevelopment.

I'll let them explain in their own words but if you've ever enjoyed a play at the Southwark Playhouse and feel it should be given a nice shiny new home then do send an email. The deadline is this Saturday (Aug 6) and all the details of how to do it plus a link to the planning application are below:

Southwark Playhouse needs your help!

IMG_0026website As you may or may not know London Bridge Station is soon to undergo a redevelopment to cope with increased capacity and to incorporate the Thameslink line.  It has the potential to be a fantastic scheme that will breathe new life in to a tired looking station and will make it (hopefully!) operate far more efficiently.

The downside of all this is that Southwark Playhouse will have to leave its current home, in the vaults beneath the tracks of the station, in December 2012 to make way for the development. Unfortunately, Network Rail have no plans to reincorporate the venue in to the new station which completes in 2018 – despite there being loads of ancillary and ‘A’ use retail space that has no impact on the good running of the railway.

While we are looking to move to one of several exciting spaces in 2013, it is likely that they will only be available on short term leases.  We believe that the new station will offer us a brilliant opportunity to secure a long-term home for the theatre once the development has been completed.

We need to convince Network Rail that Southwark Playhouse will be a great benefit to the new station and the surrounding community.

Southwark Playhouse has been based in the Borough for almost 20 years.  We are one of London’s leading theatres providing a platform for new and emerging theatre practitioners.  Last year over 30,000 people attended our performances.  Our organisation is deeply committed to the local community in which we operate.

Over the past twenty years we have developed a highly regarded and much needed education and community programme that works with thousands of local young people each year.  We have developed strong links with Southwark and Lambeth schools providing term-long curriculum support to raise aspirations and academic achievement.  Our Young Company, a youth led theatre company, provides training opportunities for local people aged 16-25 through producing regular productions and events.

You can view the plans for the new development (ref. 11/AP/1987) online via Southwark Council’s planning portal here:

If you agree with us and think we we’d make a great inclusion in the new station you can help us by emailing your own response to Gordon Adams, the case officer at Southwark Council, on [email protected], by Saturday 6th August 2011 (the end of the consultation period).

Please make sure that you state the application number and your postal address. Comments that you submit will be published on the planning website for others to see.