Opening this week, the purpose-built Park Theatre endeavours to provide “Good plays, done well,” and to promote a strong sense of community in the theatrically undernourished area of North London. Statistically, culturally engaged North Londoners attend the theatre more often than most, and yet, there has never been a professional theatre in the local area… until now. The Park Theatre is situated ideally, 100 yards from Finsbury Park tube station.
No detail overlooked, an ambitious team, headed by David Hughes’ Architects and Artistic Director, Jez Bond, have thought of everything. The two auditoriums, Park200 and the more intimate park90, boast large, coverable skylights, uncompromised sight lines and the flexibility to facilitate any seating formation. In addition, The Morris Space functions as a rehearsal room and is dedicated to educational and outreach programmes. A cultural hub and homely retreat for the community, the dog friendly café-bar is open from early in the morning and late into the evening.
Bond’s creative vision stems from a desire to return the sense of enjoyment he felt working at theatres during his youth, and collaboratively, he has worked tirelessly to bring this dream to fruition. Beaming in the bright, bare-bricked, spacious foyer, Bond expresses his gratitude: “This could never have been achieved without the support, vision and generosity of the theatre industry who have wholeheartedly embraced us, the invaluable support of the local community and of Islington Council.”
Anticipating that the theatre will eventually produce all of the work, Bond and Executive Producer, Miranda Bertram are heavily involved in the pieces that feature in the first season, co-producing much of it, supporting and nurturing the independent theatre companies. 100 locals have volunteered as ushers; consequently the theatre is already encouraging those, who might not have done so previously, to attend and experience theatre. “Park Theatre is such an exciting project and just what we need in the area, not only for the theatre-going public, but also to nurture and encourage young people.” (Alison Steadman)
The season officially begins on Wednesday evening with the UK Premier of The Shining Lives, a powerful play about love, friendship and determination, by Melanie Marnich and directed by Loveday Ingram. With concession rates for locals and under 25’s on particular performances, tickets range from £12 to £22.50. Bursting with expectation, excitement and promise, the team have only a few more days to put the finishing touches into place.