Creating the Company's New Home

 


The building is open!

First show (Henry V) a great success

 

Tower Theatre
The outside of the building

Tower Theatre
The completed auditorium

 

Tower Theatre
The bar volunteers assemble for a training session

Tower Theatre
One of the display panels installed on the ground floor

 
8th October
All major alterations have now been completed and the building is now fully operational.
  • The theatre was declared open at a simple ceremony on September 20th.
  • The first show (Henry V) opened on September 26th and has now finished its two-week run.
  • The bar is now finished and is open nightly for members.
  • The building was open for the London-wide 'Open House' event last month, and we had a considerable number of visitors eager to explore.
  • Wheelchair access to the ground floor areas is available.
  • Display panels showing photos of recent shows and information about the Company and the building have been installed in the public areas.
With the change from being a "work in progress" to a fully-functioning building, this will be the last update on the project. News and information about further developments will feature in our weekly newletter and on the main web site pages as they occur.

Tower Theatre
Lighting bars awaiting fitting on the newly carpeted rostra

 

Tower Theatre
The wheelchair lift

Tower Theatre
The ramp up to the front door

 
24th August
Work on the building is progressing on many fronts simultaneously.
Over the past couple of weeks ...
  • There's scaffolding at the back of the site to replace the roof over the fire escape.
    • The rostra in the auditorium have been carpeted.
    • Hardboard has been laid over the theatre floor.
    • The bar counter has been built.
    • The metal railings at the front of the building have been modified to allow a ramp for wheelchairs to be fitted between street level and the front door.
    • A rather magnificent wheelchair lift has been installed inside the main entrance (it cunningly converts to a standard set of stairs when not in use for wheelchairs).
    • The tubular bars to support the theatre lighting have been delivered and are currently being fitted.
    • A start has been made installing the equipment and cables for the theatre sound and communications systems

    Tower Theatre The bar counter

     

    Tower Theatre Work on the fire escape roof

    Tower Theatre
    A wine tasting with a local supplier to select drinks for the new bar

     

    Tower Theatre
    Some of the volunteers who have signed up to staff the bar

    Tower Theatre
    The seating rostra being constructed

     

    24th July
    The Crowdfunding appeal has now closed having raised the splendid sum of nearly £100,000.

    Back on site, the carpenters are hard at work building the two back rows of fixed seats in the theatre (the front rows will be removable to allow for different seating formats to be used). The theatre electricians have also been busy installing the cable trunking to connect the lighting dimmers to the sockets in the roof space.

    Tower Theatre
    The Stage Managers' cue board being wired up

     

    13th July
    Installation in the theatre itself is now in full swing. The heating and cooling systems are currently being installed - two big heat exchanger units have been put in position under the seating rostra, and four wall-mounted heating/cooling units are now in place.
    The construction of the permanent part of the seating rostra is about to start, as is electrical work to wire up the theatre lighting system. And a doorway has been knocked through to give a safe exit route to the fire escape in an emergency.

    Tower Theatre
    One of the air-conditioning units that will heat and cool the theatre

     

    Tower Theatre
    Two big heat exchangers that will be under the theatre seating to supply fresh air

    Tower Theatre
    Painting the bar

     

    6th July
    July will see the creation of the new Tower bar, masterminded by Jude Chalk. Painting is well under way and the builders will shortly be laying floorboards and working on the woodwork.
    The building's heating and ventilation system is also being installed this month.
    Behind the scenes, tenders have just come in to wire up the theatre lighting system - it's expected that a contractor will be selected in the next few days and wiring and installation work will start before the end of the month. And a cleaning contractor is soon to be appointed to keep the new building spick and span.

    Tower Theatre
    The magnificent new costume store

     

    13th June
    Last weekend saw the move of the Tower's costume stock to the new building. The old store at the Bridewell has now been cleared, and everything is slowly being transferred onto the new rails which occupy a large part of the basement, over the old swimming pool. Shelves still need to be constructed and the battered cardboard storage boxes (which date from the Company's days in Canonbury) need to be replaced. But the big part of the job has been done.

    Upstairs on the ground floor, work continues on the new toilets, and on the top floor, the roof of the theatre is being painted.

    Work has also started on checking the acoustics of the theatre space - mainly focussing on the transmission of noise both into and out of the building. Early tests suggest that the only major problem is likely to be impact noise through the structure from the theatre to the rehearsal room below, and a specialist firm has been comissioned to recommend how this might be ameliorated.

    Tower Theatre
    The new colour scheme for the theatre roof

     

    Tower Theatre
    Costume boxes awaiting their shelving

    Tower Theatre
    The cast of Kafka's Dick in Rehearsal Room 1

     

    30th May
    Rehearsal Room 2 is now in use - last night there were two rehearsals and two Tower meetings going on simultaneously, so the building is really coming alive.
    The second major move of facilities took place recently when all of our lighting equipment was moved out of its store at the Bridewell and put in a similar (but much cleaner) space in the new building.
    Props have now mostly been put away in their permanent homes and preparations are under way for the next major move - that of the wardrobe store and workroom, which is expected to take place early next month.

    Tower Theatre
    The fit-out of the main Dressing Room starts

     

    13th May
    A busy weekend for the Tower's props. team - the entire props stock has been packed up and moved to the new building. It's not in its final storage places yet, as some work still needs to be done on the three rooms allocated to house everything.
    The builders are working on the floor of the bar area, levelling out the old uneven surface.
    The floor of Rehearsal Room 2 is now in place : in the old swimming pool underneath will be a lighting store to replace a very similar space that the Tower currently has under the dressing room at the Bridewell.
    And the main Dressing Room is starting to take shape.

    Tower Theatre
    The bar area cleared for work on the floor to take place

     

    Tower Theatre
    Rehearsal Room 2 is a temporary Props. store.

    Tower Theatre
    The Ladies' lavatories (walls and doors yet to come!).

     

    1st May
    The transformation of the building continues. The new lavatories on the ground floor are nearly complete and the props store is ready to receive the Tower's stock transferred from the Bridewell. All current shows have now held at least one rehearsal in the building, and the Tower's specialist Teams (Technical, Marketing etc.), now hold their meetings there.

    Tower Theatre
    The Stage Management room next to the theatre has its sink installed.

     

    Tower Theatre
    New shelving in the Props store.

    Tower Theatre
    The Company's Board held their monthly meeting for the first time in the building.

     

    24th April
    The builders have done a amazing job enlarging the fire escape at the back of the building to make it wide emough to meet safety requirments. Electricians are currently totally rewiring the basement, where fittings and cable were badly damaged by flooding a couple of years ago, so torches will no longer be needed to explore the warren of rooms.
    The rehearsal room is now in use daily for both rehearsals and meetings. And many of you will have attended the packed event last night when the first plays to be performed in the new theatre were announced and a Crowdfunding Appeal launched.

    Tower Theatre
    The cast of Kafka's Dick have their first read-through in the rehearsal room.

     

    Tower Theatre
    The old swimming pool in the basement being filled in : this will become the Tower's costume store.

    Tower Theatre
    Ruth and Jonathan in the new Tower office.

     
    16th April
    The Tower Office is now open and the main rehearsal room is ready - the first production to use it will be The Winter's Tale.

    A Tower team has been working smartening up the ground floor, including mounting a display of some archive Tower photos and posters.

    Tower Theatre
    The main rehearsal room.

     

    Tower Theatre
    A couple of the display panels.

    Tower Theatre
    The 30 year old desk from the old Tower office is recycled.

     
    11th April
    The Tower Office is now ready to go into operation and Jonathan Norris and Ruth Sanderson will move into the new building tomorrow (12th April). The office at the St. Bride Institute will close this afternoon. The telephone numbers and the office email address will remain the same.

    The main demolition work in the basement is now complete and the dressing room area has now been stripped out ready for conversion. Work to install the new toilets is under currently way.

    Electrical testing of all the Tower's equipment and cables has started so that items which have been in store for some time can be used safely in the new building.

    Tower Theatre
    The last of the debris is about to be removed.

    Tower Theatre
    Some items of techncal equipment have started to arrive - here's a splendid sound mixing desk destined for use in the new theatre.

     
    5th April
    The builders are now half-way through their 12-week programme of work on the site. A major milestone was achieved today when demolition in the theatre space was completed - just a few piles of rubble need to be removed.

    Work continues in the basement to remove sections of the old swimming pool, which is proving challenging for our building team, and installation of the new toilets and various partition changes are also well under way.

    On the ground floor, Tower members painted the new office at the weekend, and Jonathan and Ruth are due to transfer from the Bridewell to the new space next Wednesday (11th April). Work has also started at the Bridewell to pack up the Tower stock of props. ready for a move to Stoke Newington.

    The main rehearsal room has been fitted out with tables and chairs, so it is now being used for meetings, and rehearsals will be starting in a couple of weeks time.

    Looking further ahead, Tower members will have received details about a special event on Tuesday April 24th, when the Autumn Season will be announced and a Crowdfuding Appeal launched.

    Tower Theatre
    The view up into the roof.

     
    26th March 2018
    The mezzanine floor has now been removed from the theatre space, and the associated steelwork should be dismantled by the end of this week. We can now see how the theatre will look - and very splendid it is too with the octagonal roof structure above the wooden beams.

    A specialist diamond drilling company has been called in to attack the swimming pool, which is now slowly being cracked apart. And on a more mundane note, the building now has a working doorbell!

    Tower Theatre
    From left to right, in the newly cleared stage management room : Simon Lee, Phil Ley, Wendy Parry, Roanne Insley, Shaun Joynson.

    Tower Theatre
    Not a view many Members will get to see : from the top of the roof!

    Tower Theatre
    Many years of pigeon debris need to be tidied up

    Tower Theatre
    Jude Chalk and Richard Pedersen wait to be served at the bar

    Tower Theatre
    The builders discover a cache of toy tools

    Tower Theatre
    Our first audience? The building team is in the new theatre space.

     
    19th March 2018
    The pace is hotting up - it's been an extremly busy week on site.
    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; and the rebuilding of the toilet area to meet current standards has started.
    We have had an intrepid abseiling roofer hard at work clearing all the gutters of years of pigeon debris and installing new pigeon nets.
    Away from the new site, work has been going on sorting out ready for the move in to the new building. The props and drapes store at the Bridewell has been tidied up by a team led by Jean Carr, and a large amount of little-used or damaged items has been disposed of. The Tower Office, which will be the first part of our operation to move permanently into the new building next month, had a clear-out of unwanted old papers and equipment. And Jude Chalk has started working on re-building the all-important bar.
    Back on site, Sunday saw a working group clearing the new stage management room and beginning to dismantle two enormous storage cupboards in the fire escape area. These would be really useful, but unfortunately they are flammable and so have to go to meet fire regulations.

    14th March 2018
    Our buiders discovered a cache of toy tools in a room which had at one time been used as a creche. The toys are now on their way to be donated to a more suitable home!

    6th March 2018
    We are very excited to report that builders moved into our building - newly re-christened the "Tower Theatre" - on Monday 26th February. They moved in quite literally - with sleeping bags, toothbrushes, kettles and toasters! Undeterred by the Beast From The East they have made fantastic progress and already sent away several skips of old plasterboard, tiles and general rubbish. The job is all about demolition and clearance at the moment : the area where the new ground floor toilets are to be has already been cleared and the removal of the first floor partitions is beginning to show how our new theatre space will look!