A New Home for the Tower Theatre
A New Home for the Tower Theatre
The Company acquires a new home in Stoke Newington.
Building renamed "Tower Theatre"
We are thrilled to announce that on Tuesday 6th February the Company completed on the purchase of Sunstone House in Stoke Newington. Now that we officially own the building it has been renamed "Tower Theatre" - our new home.
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.
Our builders moved into the property on Monday 26th February to begin the renovation works, and are on course to finish the majority of the initial work by the end of May. The further along we get with the project the more opportunities there will be for our Members and Friends and other willing volunteers to get involved - the move into our new home is a mammoth task and volunteer groups are now working hard.
We have also launched a Crowdfunding appeal to make the building even better than we can currently afford - please donate if you can, and share with your family and friends.
Please do get in touch with us if you would like to be involved in any way, and look out for further announcements about opportunities to support us.
Here's information on How to Get There
Here's an update on the conversion of the building and the fit-out works
here is Emily Grimson's blog
charting the progress of the project
Frequently Asked Questions ....
- What and where is the Company's new home?
The Tower Theatre is an impressive Victorian Gothic building situated in Stoke Newington (N16 7HR) which has been a Methodist Chapel, a Synagogue and, most recently, a women-only gym.
What does this property offer the Tower Theatre Company?
Plans for the building include a flexible theatre with a capacity of about 100 seats (depending on the configuration), three rehearsal rooms, an office, some space for set builds, props and costume stores, as well as the all-important bar and social space.
- How soon can we move in?
We hope to be able to move many of our activities into the building by early summer. Relocating the office, props and costume store and rehearsal space will free up our current outgoings to ensure that costs are contained. We are aiming to launch our first season of plays there in Autumn 2018.
How much of our "wish-list" does the building provide?
Much of it! Off-site storage will still be needed for bulky items and the building of special set pieces but otherwise it will give a theatre, wardrobe and all our rehearsal needs under one roof. We will have our own bar and be able to revive Friends events, as well as hosting some daytime activities.
Will we be OK financially now we have bought Sunstone House?
Since we left the Canonbury Tower in 2003 we've been looking for a permanent home for the company which will enable us to remain financially secure and viable for a long-term future. After more than a year of negotiation the Tower Theatre (then known as Sunstone House) became a realistic choice both from a cost and adaptability perspective. The Board of Trustees carried out some rigorous costings and forecasting and the Business Plan was assessed and deemed robust by an independent accountancy firm. We will have to raise some further funds for specific additional works in due course (for example to make the building properly accessible) but we can afford to do what we need in order to move in right now.
Do we have all of the licences and permissions we need to use the building as a theatre and bar?
Yes. A premises licence was granted some months ago which covers our theatre activities and drinks sales, and late last year planning permission was received for change of use of the building to a theatre. So all the major local authority processes have been completed.
- When can I see what it looks like, and take a tour?
You can see the outside of the building from Northwold Road. It is just off Stoke Newington High Street. We are planning to hold a series of open days for members and also for local groups to get to know us in the next few months - look out for further info.
How will we fit into the local arts and cultural scene?
We expect to be the only theatre in the immediate vicinity of Stoke Newington and certainly the only theatre owned by a non-professional company. The Park Theatre in Finsbury Park and the Arcola Theatre in Dalston are nearby and there are plans to create a new arts hub in the old Savoy cinema on Kingsland Road. We have been starting to make many contacts in the area, including with the Hackney Society and the Stoke Newington Literary Festival. These all have the positive advantage of making the area a vibrant cultural community within which we can play an important part.
How can I help to get us up and running in the new space?
To keep costs down we will need to do a lot ourselves, especially when it comes to decorating and fitting out the rooms. The theatre fit-out will also be a major company task. We will need as many helpers as possible to relocate to our new home, and we'll need lots of help to christen the bar! If you would like to get involved please do get in touch.
Is there a way for members, friends and others to contribute financially to help with the renovation?
We will soon be opening up a crowd-funding site with lots of giving opportunities to suit pockets of all depths, and with various rewards available in return, from plaques on individual seats to naming rights on the bar or a rehearsal room. More details to follow.
We will update these FAQs as the project progresses.