LGBT+ cabaret venue the Royal Vauxhall Tavern has signed a 20-year lease, securing the future of the endangered entertainment club.
The south London venue, known for its cabaret and drag performances, has been on uncertain ground for several years since being bought by Austrian property developers Immovate in 2014.
Its current short-term lease was due to expire in 2019, however it has now signed a long-term deal with Immovate, which runs for 20 years.
James Lindsay, the RVT’s chief executive, said: “As a team we are delighted that new secure terms have been agreed and we remain committed to ensuring the preservation of our history and culture, along with the diverse programme we offer, and continuing the vibrancy and success of the RVT.”
The new lease will enable the RVT to continue trading for 20 years, however it will not protect against it being sold by Immovate.
The RVT was granted listed status in 2015, making it harder to demolish the building, however it continued to exist on a short time space because of the lease.
Campaign group RVT Future, which has worked to secure the venue’s future, said it cautiously welcomed the news.
“We hope the stability of a new lease will now allow James Lindsay to invest the funds urgently needed to ensure the RVT continues to flourish as the UK’s longest-running LGBTQ+ performance venue,” it said.
The group also warned that the situation remained “complicated” and it expected the owners, Immovate, to try and sell the building at some point in the future.
“RVT Future and our tens of thousands of supporters continue to firmly believe that the future of the Royal Vauxhall Tavern will only be truly secure when it is owned by the community. We will continue to work with all parties, including James Lindsay, Lambeth Council, the Mayor of London and RVT punters, nightclub operators and supporters from across the globe to make this a reality,” it said.