Image credit: Ruth Anthony
The quirky, Gothic-style octagonal Sunstone House in Northwold Road was originally built as a Methodist chapel before becoming a synagogue. The red-brick building operated as a gym for many years until unexpectedly closing in 2014.
It was purchased by the Tower Theatre Company, a non-professional acting group, in February and the builders are already hard at work creating performance and rehearsal spaces and a bar. It’s set to open in the Autumn.
The main theatre will be housed in the upper floor of the building, where columns, stairs and a mezzanine level are being removed to make space for the stage. The building used to house a swimming pool, gym, salon and therapy clinic.
Work on the 12-week construction project is moving at pace – builders have already created a rehearsal room, that’s in full use for their next production: A Winter’s Tale. Staff have moved into an office on-site and a props area is almost complete.
In a blog about the project Company Member Emily Grimson wrote: “We can now see how the theatre will look - and very splendid it is too with the octagonal roof structure above the wooden beams.
“The building work is proceeding well with the main structure of the new box office in place awaiting plastering and painting; conversion of the basement area to form the wardrobe store is well under way, although demolishing the surround to the former swimming pool is proving tougher than expected.”
Flood damage means some of the building needs rewiring and the swimming pool in the basement is being removed to make way for a wardrobe store and rehearsal space. There’ll also be a bar, which the Company hopes will become a social hub.
Tower Theatre has the funds for the purchase, refurbishment and conversion of the building to a performance-ready theatre but have launched a Crowdfunding campaign to help with the cost of productions and promotion.
Established in 1932 as Tavistock Repertory Company, Tower Theatre, performs 18 productions each year in the Capital - former headquarters have included Canonbury and, most recently, the St Bride Institute. During the summer Tower Theatre Company performs touring productions, with regular appearances at the open-air Théâtre de Verdure in Paris, and at Cornwall’s Minack Theatre.
To donate to the new Tower Theatre visit: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/towertheatrecompany/
Posted 4th May 2018
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