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Controversial Streatham Playhouse begins search for operating company

An artist's impression of the Streatham Playhouse An artist's impression of the Streatham Playhouse
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Developers behind a controversial new theatre in south London have begun the search for a company to operate the venue.

Plans for the 120-seat theatre in Streatham originally drew criticism from industry figures including playwright Simon Stephens, Equity general secretary Christine Payne and actor Simon Callow – who claimed the “cheerless” venue was too small to be viable.

The designs were later redrawn to almost double the theatre’s size – allowing for the addition of rehearsal rooms, backstage space, a larger cafe area and flexible seating in the auditorium.

Callow, who grew up in Streatham, welcomed the “very encouraging” changes, stressing that the theatre should be “practical and accessible and welcoming, not a little box hidden away somewhere”.

Following a successful application for planning approval in July last year, the site’s developer, London Square, is now seeking an “enthusiastic organisation” to maximise the theatre’s potential as both a professional and community venue.

The theatre, which will be fully fitted out by London Square, will be let to the selected operator for a peppercorn rent of £1 per year.

Once chosen, the operator will decide on the final design of the theatre to ensure their vision for the venue “gets off to the best possible start”.

A notice on the developer’s site reads: “We are seeking a venue operator with vision, a genuine commitment to community engagement and relevant experience.”

It adds that organisations looking to operate their first venue would be considered, alongside larger companies looking to gain an additional space.

The theatre is expected to open in December 2017.

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