A/V Room









Bridewell forced to close after inspiring decade

Story by Jack Foley

THE only theatre in London dedicated to the development of musical theatre is to close with two gala concerts in December 2004.

The Bridewell Theatre, in Bride Lane (off Fleet Street), has been forced to call it a day because of lack of funds and high rents.

The gala concerts will take place on Sunday, December 5 and 12, when more than 40 artists will return to reprise the songs from the shows they starred in.

The shows will take the form of a celebration of the past ten years, which have provided enjoyment and inspiration to many.

The closure will come as a bitter blow to fans of the theatre, which has an exemplary record of operating within budget for all of its ten years, despite being forced to pay rent in excess of £90,000 for the last year.

However, The Bridewell feels unable to sustain this for the long-term as it means relying on its loyal friends to provide the funds.

This does not seem reasonable when most of the money donated must be used in paying the rent.

There are currently 14 new writers and composers bieng supported by the theatre and these new writers will now need to seek a new base and funding to continue their work.

Carol Metcalfe, artistic director and Founder of the Bridewell Theatre, explained: "It is pretty heartbreaking to be facing the closure of the Bridewell Theatre after so many successful years.

"The performers, writers and audiences who have come here have made this a unique and dynamic venue. It’s been a great privilege to be able to work with so many talented artists and to meet so many people who care passionately about the importance of theatre and music.

"I am especially concerned about the new writers with whom we are currently working.

"These are people whose talents British Theatre needs, but as the Bridewell Theatre Company is the only theatre company specifically devoted to the development of new musical theatre, without us these writers and composers will be left without support."

The Bridewell Theatre is the only small independent theatre in the City’s ‘Square Mile’ which encourages many city workers to reclaim a healthy work/life balance with our Lunchbox Theatre programme (45 minute plays at 1pm, at which they could eat their lunch with a free coffee or tea on us!)

It was also the home of the Bridewell Youth Theatre which provides theatre workshops for 9-26 year olds led by professional theatre practitioners and is the only drama programme available to young people in the City.

To take part in the celebration concerts, call the Box Office on 020 7936 3456.


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