Local residents have organised a demonstration at Streatham Hill Theatre as part of a campaign to prevent the south London venue being sold to developers.
The 2,800-capacity theatre was recently listed by Lambeth Council as an asset of community value, which offers additional protection from development. It has been used as a bingo hall since 1962, but closed last year.
However, the venue’s owner, Pollmount Ltd, has appealed the council’s decision, sparking fears it may have intentions to sell the property.
In response to this news, a local campaign group called Friends of Streatham Hill Theatre has organised a demonstration on November 25 at 3pm, at which residents will gather outside the theatre for a photograph to show the council “how much the theatre means to everyone in the local area”.
David Harvey, chairman of Friends of Streatham Hill Theatre, said: “Now that bingo has ceased at the Streatham Hill Theatre the community is concerned that this grand building could be lost through development or even abandonment.”
“We would like to see the building saved and returned to an arts/culture/performance use for the benefit of the community in Streatham and south London,” he said, adding that he hoped the event would show how important it is to the community.
Architecture adviser for the Theatres Trust, Claire Appleby, added: “We believe that Friends of Streatham Hill Theatre has a strong case for the building to be listed as an asset of community value due to its recent past community use (as bingo) and it is our firm belief that the theatre has a realistic opportunity of being returned to community use within the next five years.”
A Lambeth Council spokesman said: “Following the listing of the theatre as an asset of community value by the council, the owners requested a formal review, which the council is obliged to undertake.”
He added that the council was unable to comment further while the review was ongoing.
Streatham Hill Theatre was opened in 1929 as the Streatham Hill Playhouse. After being bombed in the Second World War, it reopened in 1950.
It is currently on the Theatres Trust’s Theatres at Risk Register due to fears that it may be redeveloped.