Drawing courtesy Thomas Ford and partners, project architects.
THEATRE CENTRE NEEDS TO RAISE £150,000
South London theatre centre are appealing urgently for funds to repair their traditional home in the old fire station at West Norwood.
Theatre spokesman Bryon Fear told News From Crystal Palace: “The building was due to start its restoration in May – then only weeks until the start date the original builders pulled out leaving us dead in the water.
“We went to our second choice builder whose quote had come in higher than the previous contractor and this has not only pushed back our build by almost a year, but we now need to raise an extra £150,000.
“So far we have had a very positive response from our own membership and members of the local community donating generously to the appeal but we still have a lot to raise.
“One of our main revenue streams to help fund the project are our theatre productions and our biggest production to date – Jesus Christ Superstar by Tim Rice & Andrew Lloyd Webber – will be performed at our current home at the Stanley Halls, South Norwood from August 23-27.
“We moved out of our Old Fire Station theatre at the end of October 2015. “A huge number of members and some people from the local community came to help move our wardrobe consisting of thousands of costumes spanning all ages.
“One of the reasons we chose to move to Stanley Halls because it was a place where we could house the wardrobe in a way where we could still hire it out to other theatre and film companies – another one of our important revenue streams.
“October 31 was the date we agreed (with our project manager and the Heritage Lottery) to vacate the Old Fire Station so that works could begin.
“Unfortunately, building works did not begin in November and the builders that had won the tender needed to negotiate some value engineering to get the cost in line with something that they could agree to and that we could afford.
“There was still money to fundraise when we had agreed to work with the first builders. “But because the cost was being negotiated the amount was a variable.
“The total project cost is: £2,640,000
“We had to raise £810,000 in match-funding and we have so far managed to raise £660,000 of that amount. “So we have a £150,000 shortfall at the moment.
“Heritage Lottery granted us £1,830,000 70 per cent of our target figure which will be released in increments as the building works begin which we hope will start in the coming months..
“We have had a small amount of that money to begin to deliver our community projects which are a part of our requirement in order to receive the HLF grant.
“One of the projects was to involve the local community in cataloguing our extensive wardrobe.
“We engaged volunteers from the U3A (University of the Third Age) who photographed the entire collection and catalogued it for future reference.
“We have been working on unearthing the history of the fire station, its original use and the years when it was owned by St. Luke’s church and then the years when the South London Theatre Centre (as they were known in 1967) took it over.
“We are still looking for people’s personal memories of the building – anyone who may have seen a show there, or used the Fire Station when the church owned it or anyone who may even have a connection to the firemen who worked there at the turn of the century.
“The information is being compiled and turned into a book.”