Southwark Playhouse is set to get a new venue at London Bridge in 2025.
The much-loved theatre will break free of its current Newington Causeway home, with a newly announced site just outside London Bridge station.
The new purpose-built venue will be part of the redevelopment of Colechurch House — the squat, 1960s concrete building you may have walked 'through' if you've ever followed the pedestrian walkway between the station and bridge. This fellow:
Designs by Foster + Partners will see this demolished and rebuilt as a 100-metre mixed-use development. The plans show a building on stilts, perching over "new landscaped garden", with a new footbridge across Duke Street Hill. It'll look something like this:
The new venue would actually include two theatres — one of 250 seats and another of 150. The move was agreed in a deal with the new building's developer CIT. All this is pending planning permission, which has yet to be granted by Southwark Council.
It's an exciting time for Southwark Playhouse. The company is looking forward to moving into a fresh, purpose-built venue in Elephant and Castle in 2022. This second London Bridge venue will allow the theatre "to significantly expand its award-winning artistic and community programmes".
This is arguably the toughest time in living memory for theatres, so it's heartening to learn of plans for new stages.
That said, the new development won't be to everyone's tastes. Its construction will require the environmentally costly demolition of the existing concrete block. The replacement is much loftier and interrupts views of the Shard. It will be joined by other medium-height buildings in the near future.
See the planning application at Southwark Council.