After 15 years without a permanent home, Tower Theatre Company is getting ready for a “momentous” occasion next week when it welcomes audiences to its new venue in Stoke Newington for the first time.
The 86-year-old company, one of London’s busiest am-dram groups, lost the lease for Canonbury Tower – its base for half a century – in 2003.
It has since searched high and low for suitable digs, finally landing on Stoke Newington’s old Sunstone Gym – a women-only facility which turned off the treadmills for the last time in 2014.
After the council approved its planning application last year, the company and its building committee has been working hard to convert the building on Northwold Road into a fully equipped 120-seat theatre – complete with rehearsal rooms, box office, wardrobe and props storage, and mingling space for audiences.
Now the work is complete, TTC has revealed it will kick off proceedings with a run of Henry V, starting on 26 September – tickets are available from £12 on its website.
The company is aiming to put on 18 full-scale, affordable productions over the next twelve months.
Leader of TTC’s building committee, Sarah Ambrose, said: “This well-loved Stoke Newington landmark is being given a new lease of life and we hope that it will become a real community asset for Stoke Newington and beyond.
“We’re so excited to continue producing quality shows in this fantastic part of London.”
Project manager David Taylor added: “An amazing amount of work has been carried out by professional builders and volunteers to create a base for one of London’s leading non-professional theatre groups.
“It has been quite a challenge getting everything to come together but I hope the facilities will be well used and become a real hub for the company and the community.”
TTC, which formed in 1932, says it has “always aimed to provide high quality, affordable drama, enabling people of all ages and backgrounds to experience every aspect of live theatre”.
The company now has more than 700 members and friends.
And it wasn’t held back by the loss of its Islington residence – over the last decade, it has staged plays like The Importance of Being Earnest, Our Townand Goodnight Mr. Tom at various London theatres, working from a temporary base in the City of London.
Trustee Alexander Knapp said of next week’s opening night: “This is a huge milestone for the Tower and heartfelt thanks go out to every single person who has supported the project and helped us reach this momentous point.”
For more information about TTC, and for tickets, head to towertheatre.org.uk