Finding two homes for one theatre

Last night, I visited Southwark Playhouse. It’s one of London’s great fringe theatres: an incubator for some of the creative geniuses of tomorrow.  

But I wasn’t there to see a show. I was enjoying myself at a fundraising event to raise some of the £3m needed to move the theatre to new premises as it has outgrown it’s current home in Newington Causeway.

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The Playhouse historically has been a troop of wandering players with various temporary homes, but now it’s been so successful it is going to have not one but two permanent homes, one in Elephant and Castle and another at London Bridge. They will have a total of at least 650 seats.

Its mission is to put on plays and musicals at far more affordable prices than the West End and to help local people develop their creative skills. The London Bridge site will include a space for youth and community work.

It’s great to be able to support this cause.

Fortunately, the Playhouse is not short of support. The speaker last night was the Hollywood actor and director Andy Serkis. He started his career at a local theatre in Lancaster and went on to become the man behind digital stars in some of the biggest movies including King Kong and Gollum in Lord of the Rings. He’s directing the new Mowgli film, based on the Jungle Book character.

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It’s incredible what artists can achieve now with transferring motion capture from an actor on to virtual characters.

Come to think of it, maybe that wasn’t the real Andy Serkis speaking to us at all.