The Independent London Newspaper

Oasis of arts planned for Finsbury Park’s ‘cultural desert’

Artist’s impression of the planned theatre at Clifton Terrace

Published: 09 July, 2010
by JOSH LOEB

A “CULTURAL desert” in Islington could be set to blossom if plans for a new theatre get the go-ahead from the council, writes Josh Loeb.

An artist’s impression of what the venue in Finsbury Park would look like were released earlier this month, ahead of a planning application due to be submitted to the Town Hall this week.

Jez Bond, former artistic director of Finsbury Park-based theatre group Y Touring Company, would become the artistic director of the venue, called The Park Theatre.

He said pre-application information submitted to the council had been met with “an extremely favourable response,” adding: “A lot of people have said to me that Finsbury Park is a bit of a cultural desert and a great place for a theatre, partly because of its proximity to the station.”

Under the plans, a derelict office building at 11-13 Clifton Terrace behind Finsbury Park station would be converted into a 200-seat main house with a studio space that would accommodate around 80 people.

Several new flats will also be created above the venue as part of the development.

Private donors have contributed funds to the project and Mr Bond said he hopes part of the £2million building costs will be offset by sales of the flats. 

Mr Bond said he hoped to stage “a broad range of plays that inspire and engage people – plays that make you laugh and make you cry”. 

He has set up a blog at www.parktheatre.co.uk/blog/  so that local people can follow the progress of the scheme.

It is hoped The Park Theatre will open in 2012, in time for the London Olympics.

Another new performance space – a venue off Old Street called simply The Theatre – is set to open in the same year and will become the new home of the Canonbury-based Tower Theatre Company.

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