In our quest to find London’s favourite Off West End theatre, our reviewers champion their favourite venues. Today, Marianka Swain tells us why the Albany would get her vote. Vote for your own favourite Off West End theatre below!
In this age of broadcast performances and live streaming, shows from venues like the National are increasingly accessible to people across the UK. However, the downside is the possibility of audiences swapping their local theatre for a night of big names and big budgets online or at the cinema. Is the regional arts centre under serious threat?
Thankfully, not in south-east London’s Deptford, which is blessed with a wonderfully robust example of local excellence. If regional venues are to survive these turbulent times, they need to balance historic roots with new ideas, and engage varied audiences while offering valuable service to their local community. Those seeking inspiration should look no further than the Albany.
This diverse performing arts centre celebrated 30 years in its current site in 2012, but has 19th-century origins as the Albany Empire, damaged by fire in the 1970s. Rising from the ashes is a space committed to fostering creativity and social responsibility – 50% of its funding comes from the Borough of Lewisham and the Arts Council, so there’s a concerted effort to reflect the area’s cultural mix.