Greenwich Theatre secures long term future

In a historic moment, this week Greenwich Theatre Ltd has signed a long lease with the Royal Borough of Greenwich, securing the future of the south London venue.

At a time when arts budgets are being slashed and companies are facing grant cuts across the country, the agreement with the Council provides the company with security of tenure for the next 24 years, on a peppercorn rent, which equates to an estimated £2million in rent relief over the period.

In return, as a registered charity, the theatre has committed to continue its programme of outreach and engagement activities, from work in schools to festival events and subsidised ticket price initiatives, all offered in parallel with a nationally significant programme of in-house productions, national touring companies, emerging artist support and family theatre.

The company’s annual pantomime, now regularly hailed as one of the finest traditional pantomimes in the country, provides over 10,000 subsided children’s tickets every year. The 2023-24 production of Snow White received three prestigious Offie nominations, and plans are now well underway for 2024-25’s production of Dick Whittington and his Cat by Anthony Spargo.

The renewed commitment by the Council also offers the charity a more secure basis from which to embark on a long-term programme of fundraising to support improvements to the fabric of the theatre building in Crooms Hill and expand the reach of its activity.

Chair of Trustees Nigel Fletcher said: “This agreement marks the start of an exciting new era for Greenwich Theatre, and a new relationship with the Royal Borough. There is a bright future ahead, and this long-term lease provides us with the security we need to face future challenges with confidence. I look forward to working with our dedicated staff, supporters and local people across Greenwich as we secure the theatre’s place at the heart of the community for many years to come.”

Artistic Director James Haddrell said: “This marks the culmination of years of work by our small and incredibly dedicated staff team and represents the latest stage in the development of the company. In our most ambitious year to date, alongside the signing of the lease, over 1,000 children from Greenwich and beyond are set to perform on our stage this year, while we will also present new productions of work by two acclaimed modern British playwrights, two world premiere family productions, the return of the Greenwich Children’s Theatre Festival and a host of exciting visits from some of the country’s most significant touring companies. With the lease in place we can now look beyond the immediate future and start to make some major long-term plans.”

Councillor Adel Khaireh, Cabinet Member for Equality, Culture and Communities, said: “The Greenwich Theatre has a long history hosting live entertainment in the Royal Borough of Greenwich to audiences of all ages and plays an important role not just in our local economy, but as part of our community.

“By hosting spaces where people can laugh and escape to faraway lands through the power of storytelling and creativity, these organisations are crucial to encouraging social cohesion and creating a place where people can connect with each other.

Renewing this lease with Greenwich Theatre helps ensure we have a strong voluntary and community sector in Royal Greenwich that enhances our town centres and high streets to create vibrant, inclusive and healthy communities, where our residents and businesses can flourish.”


(Picture features Councillor Adel Khaireh, Cabinet Member for Equality, Culture and Communities; Councillor Aidan Smith, Cabinet Member for Regeneration; Councillor Anthony Okereke, Leaded of the Council; Nigel Fletcher, chair of the trustees of Greenwich Theatre; James Haddrell, Artistic Director of Greenwich Theatre; Councillor Denise Hyland , Cabinet Member for Finance, Resources and Social Value. Picture credit: Simon Hildrew)

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