Report says regenerating Streatham Hill Theatre can kickstart local high street revival
An independent study published today says that restoring the dormant historic building as a centre for arts and culture “could play a major role in leading the post-Covid high-street recovery, developing the 15-minute neighbourhood, increasing localised co-working opportunities and ultimately making a significant economic contribution to the regeneration of this part of London”.
The Viability Study and Economic Impact Assessment was carried out by a team led by renowned arts consultancy, FEI, and supported by the Mayor of London, Lambeth Council, the Theatres Trust and over 400 crowdfunded donations from the local community.
The study says that the theatre has the potential to generate footfall, jobs and economic growth, adding over £70m to the local economy over 30 years. It identifies a broad range of economic and social benefits that restoring the theatre for arts and culture could bring.
The study recommends a phased, incremental and collaborative approach, with the immediate focus on making meanwhile use of parts of the building. Following on from this, a ‘minimal refurbishment’ of the theatre could be implemented as a sustainable operating model in the medium term, while longer term plans are developed for full refurbishment and operation as a fully commercial theatre.
The study carried out extensive work on mapping competitors, audiences and users, financial and operating models, and an economic impact assessment. Its report (of which a summary is published today) makes clear there will be challenges to restoring the theatre, including uncertainty due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and ownership issues. However, with the right circumstances, and a significant level of third-party capital investment in retro-fitting and refurbishment, the ongoing operation of the theatre as a leisure and entertainment venue promoting arts and culture, is a viable long-term proposition.
You can see the 12-page summary report here, and the full press release here with quotes from supporters, including:
"I’m so excited at the idea of the West End of South London coming back to life. The pandemic has made us all cherish our neighbourhood assets and think about them as community hubs for inclusive art and culture. As we’re all so much more conscious of celebrating our history, Streatham Hill Theatre feels like it’s been biding its time ready to spread its wings again. A phoenix rising.”
Samira Ahmed, Arts & News Presenter
and Theatres Trust Ambassador
"Historically Lambeth has an established landmark of theatres and a community of dedicated theatre goers. The Council recognises this much-loved community asset that is the ‘Streatham Hill Theatre’ and fully supports the community’s commitment to deliver a diverse and much needed theatre at the heart of Streatham.”
Cllr Sonia Winifred,
Cabinet Member for Equalities and Culture,
“There is strong local support to regenerate this historic building and reintegrate it into the local community.
“Creating a local hub for culture, live arts and entertainment wouldn’t just enrich Streatham’s cultural offering, it would also bring important benefits to our local economy at a time when the High Street has taken an even deeper hit.”
MP for Streatham