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Theatres Trust awards The Playground Theatre a small grant

Theatres Trust awards The Playground Theatre a small grant, along with ten other London theatres.

The Playground Theatre is delighted to have been awarded a small grant by the Theatres Trust along with ten other London theatre applicants. The Playground Theatre opened to the public in 2017, having first been established in 2009 as an artists’ creative hub and development space.

Before the theatre officially opened

Before the theatre officially opened; we were home to Grief Encounter, who worked with Grenfell survivors. We were also pleased to provide rehearsal space for Kensington Academy who had had their roof burnt during the Grenfell fire. Since that dreadful time, we have continued to reach our diverse community through eclectic programming and outreach projects. More recently we are working with St. Charles hospital mental health unit on outreach projects that extend a therapeutic environment into our theatre. Well Written and Well Read are two such projects, both use writing and literature to extend our theatre as a healing place.

Dictating to the Estate

Situated in Latimer Road

We are situated in Latimer Road, W10 an area of London that is home and work-place to a distinct and very broad mix of people. We are surrounded by large housing estates including Grenfell, expensive residential properties, commercial developments such as Westfield and White City Place, Wormwood Scrubs prison and Imperial College Campus. The audience on our doorstep is huge, reaching out to them is our first priority as a local theatre.

Jessica Martin as Shirley Porter in Shirleymander

Local issues are a very strong thread in our community

Local issues are a very strong thread in our community, Grenfell wiped away whatever social divides existed and brought our community together. We did two productions in 2018 that spoke to this issue: Dictating to the Estate an investigative piece that was performed as a political debate and was based on emails, blogs and correspondence between Grenfell residents and the local council. We hope to bring Dictating to the Estate (which was wholly crowd funded) back to our theatre as a fuller production. We also produced Shirleymander a play about Shirley Porter who, when she was leader of Westminster council, undertook social cleansing to try to secure future votes. Shirleymander was written by a local writer Gregory Evans and Dictating to the Estate was written by local writer Nathaniel McBride, we are fortunate to have many gifted artists local to us but also; we welcome artists from across the globe. Partly because of our work-space history, we have strong connections with artists from further afield. We have hosted Russian and Greek plays, that have been performed in native languages. We have showed biopics that cover gritty subjects such as prostitution, sexual and physical abuse, and abortion. We produce and host many World and UK premieres, in fact our next in-house production The Jazz Age is a UK premiere.

We are very grateful to be awarded a small grant by the Theatres Trust

We are very grateful to be awarded a small grant by the Theatres Trust. We aim to continue to show works that challenge both the artist and the audience, that reflect and resonate with the World around us; that celebrate bold and imaginative storytelling and place us firmly in the heart and mind of our community.

The Jazz Age

Anthony Biggs co-artistic director at The Playground Theatre said: “We are delighted to be receiving support from The Theatres Trust. Visibility is so important for a new theatre, and our grant for new signage at the front of our building will help to raise our profile in the local community. The grant will also allow us to purchase new curtains and working lights, making us a more flexible and environmentally-friendly space.”

Theatres Trust is the national advisory public body for theatres. We believe that current and future generations should have access to good quality theatre buildings where they can be inspired by, and enjoy, live performance. We champion the future of live performance by protecting and supporting excellent theatre buildings which meet the needs of their communities. We do this by providing advice on the design, planning, development and sustainability of theatres, campaigning on behalf of theatres old and new and offering financial assistance through grants. theatrestrust.org.uk.

Theatres Trust

The discussion about The Playground Theatre at the start of this article based on an interview: Fringe Focus by theatre reviewer and critic Louise Penn. The interview was between Louise, Peter Tate and Anthony Biggs who are co-artistic directors at The Playground Theatre. We are grateful to Louise Penn, who is a regular visitor to The Playground Theatre.

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