Greenwich Playhouse fights for survival after London riots

PUBLISHED: 16:00 12 August 2011

Greenwich Playhouse has experienced a slump in sales and rise in cancellations since the London riots

Greenwich Playhouse has experienced a slump in sales and rise in cancellations since the London riots


Theatre bosses say they are fighting for survival after suffering a dramatic rise in cancellations and slump in bookings as the fallout from the London riots hits the night time economy.

Alice de Sousa, Greenwich Playhouse artistic director, revealed last night’s (Thursday) press night for the UK Premiere of the American musical ‘SLAY IT WITH MUSIC’, experienced the smallest audience in its near 20 year history.

Dozens of tickets were cancelled and bookings have ground to a halt as people stay at home following four nights of violence, looting and arson attacks wich started at the weekend.

With a capacity of 84, press nights are usually a sell-out and about 40 to 50 attend when a company produces for the first time, there was about 12 people last night.

She said: “Greenwich High Road, normally a haven of tourist daytime activity and in the evenings coming alive with cultural events and large groups of people socialising, has become eerily quiet. It is evident that the riots have affected peoples confidence in their own safety and in their community.

“I have no doubt that resilient Londoners will reclaim their communities by returning to their daily routines; however, for us and for the company producing ‘SLAY IT WITH MUSIC’, it is in the meanwhile a question of survival.

“Small independent theatres and companies which receive no funding are completely dependent on ticket sales. Since the riots we have experienced dozens of tickets cancelled and our booking systems (phone and online) have come to a stand still.”

She appealed for theatre lovers, particulary south Londoners to support the Playhouse and production to prevent further damage to businesses from the riots.

A spokesperson for A Stage Kindly, who produced the show, said: “The reduced audience levels are devastating to us, to the large cast and technical team who have dedicated so much time and talent to bringing to life this fantastic new American musical. We remain deeply concerned about the evident impact that these riots have had in destroying audiences confidence to venture out to the theatre and to an area which has been surrounded by civil unrest. If audience levels do not improve, this could result in the end of our company and the ambitious work which it does in supporting new musical theatre writing from all over the world.”

SLAY IT WITH MUSIC performs at the Greenwich Playhouse until September 4 2011; Tuesday to Saturday 7.30pm and Sunday 4pm; tickets: £13 £10 (concs.)

Call the Box Office: 0208 858 9256;

Greenwich Playhouse, Greenwich Station Forecourt, 189 Greenwich High Road, London SE10 8JA

Keep up to date with news and reviews from Greenwich Playhouse in the Bexley Times out on Thursday.

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