West end theatre comes eastA new cabaret theatre, promising West End-quality shows at a fraction of the price, has opened in Leyton, reports Victoria Munro The East London Cabaret [...]
A new cabaret theatre, promising West End-quality shows at a fraction of the price, has opened in Leyton, reports Victoria Munro
The East London Cabaret Theatre staged its first show in the Leyton Great Hall on 2nd September.
The theatre was funded with the help of £169,500 from Arts Council England’s Culture Recovery Fund, the biggest chunk of money awarded in the borough by a large margin.
Its proceeds will go to the LVE Foundation, a charity which rents out the hall and has spent five years taking young people to police custody suites to warn them away from crime.
Creative director Simon Hanning said the goal was to create a theatre space unique to Waltham Forest, if not London, and take advantage of the borough’s large appetite for culture.
He said: “Nobody has really done a cabaret space this big before. You do have cabaret spaces in central London, which are great, but they are very small.
“There’s not really other theatre spaces in Waltham Forest, other than the one being built in the EMD cinema, and there’s enough people that live here that want this kind of thing.
“We will be featuring high-end performers that you would normally see in the West End for about £100 – but we won’t be charging more than £25, and that’s the top end.”
The refurbishment of the former town hall building was a labour of love for the theatre’s small team, who spent the first lockdown polishing its brass chandeliers by hand.
The theatre also kept busy while unable to open by putting on a live-streamed Christmas show for local care home residents and Hospital patients to “bring them a bit of joy”.
Upcoming productions will focus on The Beatles’ performance at the Granada and Laurie Cunningham, a Leyton Orient footballer who became one of the first black British players to achieve international fame.
The theatre also plans to host classic film nights, a short film festival and an interactive murder mystery night, set around a wedding, as part of its programme for next year.
In addition to the profits from its shows, the new theatre will also give the LVE Foundation the chance to offer young people training in theatre and film skills.
Karen Bellamy, a local councillor who works for the Foundation, said: “A lot of young people in theatre are quite middle class, this can give children who don’t have these advantages the opportunity to get involved.”
Find out more about the theatre and its upcoming shows at www.elctheatre.com