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Former bus depot to be reborn as ‘Almeida of west London’

The Playground Theatre will open in October The Playground Theatre will open in October
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A new theatre bidding to be “the Almeida of west London” is to open in a converted bus depot later this year.

The Playground Theatre will open in Ladbroke Grove in October, with the outgoing artistic director of London’s Jermyn Street Theatre, Anthony Biggs, as co-artistic director.

He will work alongside producer and actor Peter Tate.

Tate founded the Playground as a research and development hub in 2001, and more recently it has also been used as rehearsal space. It will continue in both these guises, while also running as a theatre.

The venue will be a 150 to 200-seat performance space, with a flexible stage, full lighting and sound capacity and two dressing rooms.

Designed by Mizzi Studio, the former bus depot will be converted into a theatre on a budget of £270,000.

The Playground will also have a front-of-house area, box office and cafe, and run community engagement activity.

Actors Celia Imrie and Cherie Lunghi have backed the plans and the venue will have ballet dancer Lynn Seymour as its patron.

The theatre will work with both established and emerging artists and will be “a place for play, experimentation, risk and, above all, fun”.

Biggs, who leaves Jermyn Street in July, said: “The Playground is such a creative space and I’m thrilled to be joining it on the next stage of its journey. It has the potential to be the Almeida of west London – a place where our artists are encouraged to take risks, where our audiences are both challenges and entertained.”

There will also be a focus on working with international artists, Biggs said.

The inaugural Playground season will be announced later in the spring.

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