Camden People’s Theatre embarks on its ambitious redevelopment


Delayed by the pandemic, CPT’s revitalised plans for its first ever capital development work will improve the venue’s sustainability, accessibility, and create a civic space that is open day and night.

“This atmospheric little venue which punches way above its weight in supporting the future of British theatre” Lyn Gardner on Camden People’s Theatre.

Camden People’s Theatre (CPT) today announces the start of its bold new development project, activating revitalised plans to upgrade its performance space, rehearsal space and foyer for the first time in its 26-year history. Their project has been developed in partnership with architects De Matos Ryan through a co-design process that engaged with the local community, audiences and artists. The works will improve accessibility, resilience and sustainability, allowing CPT to realise their ambition to open a new community café, with a vastly improved on-street presence, reimagining 58-60 Hampstead Road as a civic space open day and night, and making CPT’s building as community-focused as the art they promote.

Thirteen months ago, Camden People’s Theatre announced their plans to transform their space, with a ‘brief closure’ for work in Summer 2020. Since the pandemic hit, they have recalibrated those plans and secured funding to carry out the works while social distancing is still in place and many theatres remain closed. They have also continued to support their community through youth outreach and a partnership with a local food charity, as well as supporting early-career artists with a major new round of commissions.

With a Small Capital Grant from Arts Council England and a grant from the Foyle Foundation already in place, CPT has spent the last seven months securing generous contributions from a number of sources, including London Borough of Camden, Viridor Credits and the Cockayne Foundation (full list below). Now, the final grant has been confirmed, a Capital Kickstart grant as part of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund, enabling the redevelopment to finally go ahead.

The work will:

Create a more inclusive space, with better access provision including automatic doors, refurbished accessible bathrooms and lift

Dramatically improve sightlines and create a more comfortable bar and foyer space for a better audience experience

Improve facilities for artists, including increased performance space and acoustic separation from the street and bar, to better reflect the quality of work CPT presents

Create the conditions for the launch of a community café, enabling the building to be open day and night

Maximize available space to enable concurrent use of theatre and rehearsal space

Revive and celebrate the theatre’s pub architecture

“CPT have been producing experimental, community minded and radical theatre from this base for the past 25 years. Over this time they have built an enviable reputation of engaging with their resident neighbours through locally oriented work and are an important amenity at the heart of their community. We are overjoyed to hear that CPT has been supported by so many brilliant funders to realise their vision for the refurbishment of their building during this time of great uncertainty.” – Cllr Danny Beales, Cabinet Member for Investing in Communities, Culture & an Inclusive Economy (Includes Planning, Regeneration & Economic Development), London Borough of Camden

The works will take place throughout December-March, enabling the building to be ready for CPT to invoice audiences back with an inspirational spring season featuring the 23rd Sprint Festival and Calm Down, Dear, their annual feminism festival. During this time, CPT has partnered with Regent’s Place and Old Diorama Theatre to continue to provide in kind rehearsal space for early-career artists. ready for CPT to invite audiences back into the building for their spring season – just over a year after the venue was forced to close.

“We couldn’t be more delighted to hear that Camden People’s Theatre has secured the essential funding it needed to embark on this exciting capital project. The theatre has tirelessly supported the Drummond Street community over the last 25 years and the co-design process, which a number of our residents have been involved in, gave us the chance to be directly involved in the ambition for the building. This project promises to secure CPT’s future in our area and ensure the organisation can thrive over the next 20 years, building a stronger community through an unprecedented time of change and upheaval.” – John Myers, chair of Drummond Street Neighbourhood Forum

Executive Director, Kaya Stanley-Money said: “This is an extraordinary moment for Camden People’s Theatre. The grant from the Cultural Capital Kickstart fund allows us to greenlight our capital development project and deliver it now, over the next four months while social distancing obliges us to remain closed to audiences. Faced – as a result of the Covid crisis – with the prospect of having to delay our project indefinitely, or to endure a second period of closure in 2021 to undertake the work, we have worked immensely hard with partners and funders to bring this capital work forward, ensuring we are in the best possible position to re-open to the public in spring 2021.

We couldn’t be more grateful for our funders’ support and their belief in the urgent need for us to complete this work now. We can’t wait to get on-site and realise the full potential of our brilliant theatre as a more accessible, inclusive and inspirational space – for artists, audiences and our Camden community.”

Founded 26 years ago, Camden People’s Theatre is one of Britain’s most influential studio theatres. Its mission is to champion different ways of thinking about the world by supporting emerging artists making adventurous theatre – particularly about issues that matter to people now. Its work is rooted in the communities of Camden and London. Through it, they celebrate the bold, the spirited and the unconventional.

The redevelopment has been made possible by generous funding and donations from Arts Council England, Foyle Foundation, Theatres Trust, Euston Town BID, Section 106 Funds (Camden Council), Viridor Credits, Cockayne – Grants for the Arts and The London Community Foundation, Backstage Trust, Culture Recovery Fund Capital Kickstart and individual donations.

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