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Union Theatre in Southwark threatened with closure

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A petition has been launched to stop railway redevelopments going ahead that could force the Union Theatre in London to close and move to different premises.

Members of the Union Street Traders Association in Southwark, who started the petition, say they are “devastated” by the news that Network Rail is looking to regenerate the area.

Union Theatre artistic director Sasha Regan said the venue has not been served its notice yet but she has been verbally forewarned by Network Rail that the site will be turned into offices.

Speaking to The Stage, Regan said: “I would be absolutely devastated [if the developments go ahead]. I don’t know where we would go or what we would do. I set the theatre up 15 years ago and it means everything to me. My family and kids come here and I know my regulars by name.”

She added: “We are a genuine community of small businesses and our regulars enjoy coming here. We don’t think the area needs a huge bunch of offices when offices next door have been empty for two years.”

The Save Small Businesses in Union Street petition has attracted more than 2,000 signatures so far.

A spokesman for Network Rail said that it plans to refurbish the railway arches on Union Street but could not confirm what the future use of the buildings would be.

He said: “We are aware of the importance of small and medium sized businesses and charities and the contribution they make to local economies. As a result, we will discuss with the Union Theatre to try and find a solution and if possible help them relocate to other Network Rail premises in the surrounding area.”

The 50-seat venue recently won the 2013 Stage 100 Award for fringe theatre of the year.

 

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