The Streatham Hill Theatre
Streatham Hill Theatre is an architectural gem on Streatham Hill. It is now Beacon Bingo but was originally the Streatham Hill Playhouse. The foundation stone was laid in 1928 by the famous actress Evelyn Laye and is still visible.
The theatre provided West End style entertainment until 1962, save for a gap (literally) as a result of bomb damage between 1944 and 1950.
It reopened as a bingo hall, which had a positive effect in keeping the building alive and preventing redevelopment. In 1994 the building was Grade II listed and it remains today pretty much as it was in 1962, with beautiful interiors.
The Streatham Society has published an excellent history of the theatre, by John Cresswell (www.streathamsociety.org.uk). For last year’s Streatham Festival the society arranged a tour and was overwhelmed by the turn out of interested people. One wrote up his visit, and this and other historical information is online (www.streathamtheatre.org.uk/venues).
Last year theatre returned to Streatham Hill, courtesy of the new Streatham Theatre Company and the help of Streatham Festival and Beacon Bingo.
For the Festival, STC performed their first show Then and Now, albeit in the dress circle foyer. A celebration of the ‘Glamour Days of Streatham’, the show featured poems, devised scenes inspired by them, and jazz songs.
In November, the Company’s second show On the Air turned the venue into a radio studio for a ‘live’ broadcast of a Sherlock Holmes story, with devised action.
More recently, STC created Playing with Sugar, based on reminiscences of local residents, collected in a series of interviews, available on our blog (Streatham reminiscences: blog.streathamtheatre.org.uk). The show was performed at the new Streatham Centre to celebrate the reopening of the Tate Library.
Streatham Theatre Company is open to everyone (18+) with an interest in theatre, whatever their level of experience – professional, amateur or none. We have regular events on the second Tuesday of each month – readings, workshops, socials etc. Our next show will be for the Streatham Festival in July. More information can be found online.