A new venue that is set to open in Rotherhithe, south-east London, will offer free tickets to people using food banks and those who have access to subsidised school meals.
The Rotherhithe and East London Playhouse will open tomorrow (Tuesday) and is a rebrand of the Rotherhithe Playhouse, which was founded nearby by artistic director Phil Willmott in 2020.
The new arts space will have 50 seats and will allow for the creation of shows that explore local and classical stories.
Willmott told The Stage: “As a kid, theatre was really important to me. I didn’t go to a particularly good school, so I would take myself off on Saturday afternoons to see plays and musicals at Bristol Old Vic. It was how I learnt about the world.
“When Covid closed all the theatres, I realised there was a real danger of a whole generation of kids never being taken to the theatre – who will have never seen the plays they are studying. I felt the longer the pandemic went on, the more people would get out of the habit of going to the theatre, so an entire art form could die.”
As well as the free ticket initiative, the venue will also implement a ‘pay-what-you-can’ scheme for those that would not traditionally be able to afford theatre trips. The venue has also said that there would be a free show every half-term and school holiday for those under the age of 14.
The Rotherhithe and East London Playhouse’s first season will open with William Shakespeare’s ‘All’s Well That Ends Well’ which will run until November 6. The production will run alongside children’s show ‘Telling Tails from Ukraine’ from October 28 until November 6.