Southwark Playhouse will open its newly developed Elephant & Castle theatre in early 2021, following a significant increase in funding from Unity Trust Bank.
The bank provided £920,000 in loans to help finalise the construction of the new venue which is based at Newington Butts in Elephant & Castle in South London. Whilst the building work on the 300-seat venue and community hub will be completed this month, Southwark Playhouse will delay opening the venue until early 2021 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Artistic director and CEO Chris Smyrnios said: “This was an ambitious project for a small organisation like ours. The developers built the shell and core of the theatre but we needed to raise £3m to complete the building.
“The financial support we received from Unity Trust Bank at the beginning of this project gave confidence to other backers and we were able to reach our target. Unity’s support unlocked everything for us and helped make this project happen.”
Smyrnios added: “The new theatre will provide dedicated space for all of our community groups and will enable us to put on bigger shows.”
Elephant & Castle and the surrounding area has seen a massive transformation over the last decade with council blocks demolished to make way for New York style apartments and new shops. The new venue and eventual redevelopment of the shopping centre will add to the changing landscape of this once lower class neighbourhood.