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Charlie Ward

Park Theatre

20 May 2013 Rebecca White

The newest theatre in London opens its doors to reveal a blossoming cultural centre in Finsbury Park.

The new Park Theatre has an effortless charm, probably because of the effort that has gone into every aspect of it. From the meticulously planned and designed theatre layout to the up-cycled vintage furniture, this new building’s identity is forming fast and it is all in the detail.

New theatres spring up in London very sporadically as the market is quite a treacherous one. The competition here is the biggest and the baddest around yet new theatres can answer a set of needs that the older, more traditional ones are not able to. They can respond to the changes in the city's geo-demographics and positively influence areas that need a little boost.

That is exactly what the Park Theatre, recently opened in Finsbury Park, looks set to do. Part of a larger regeneration project in the area, this project seeks to unite local communities and appeal to audiences across London. This is helped by the fact that it is only 15 minutes from the centre of town and a 30 second walk from the tube station.

Artistic Director Jez Bond along with David Hughes' Architects and the rest of this seemingly close and committed team have come a long way from 2009 when they identified an old office block building in the centre of one of London's most culturally engaged neighbourhoods. They decided on this as the site for the project and the rest is history.

Born out of a deep love of theatre, those involved in bringing this venue into being have managed to create an interesting juxtaposition between the look of a trendy urban cultural centre and the feel of a regional community space. This is likely to have come from the extensive experience the leaders of this project have had with some of the best theatres and theatre companies in Britain and internationally.

The venue itself has two auditoriums, Park200 a 200 seat theatre and the smaller Park90. In addition to this there is a fair sized education and rehearsal room, The Morris Space. What sets it all apart though is the level of research and thought that has gone into each element of the design. There are skylights in both auditoriums so that actors and technicians spending their days in there do not have to wither in the dark all day. The sight lines have been heavily planned so that an intimate experience can be had wherever you sit and the flexibility of the spaces means the range of configurations can change according to the production.

Additionally there is an attractive and light cafe-bar and gallery that has a refreshingly personal feel to it. This is sure to find itself publicised on lists of the best places to go on a first date or meet friends for a relaxed drink. The front of house team is made up of volunteers and employees who come from the local area including young people struggling to find employment.
 
The programme of the first season reflects the care and consideration of its environment. With a clear focus on quality this first season has been curated to build the reputation and the personality that Park Theatre will seek to perfect as it develops. The first play in Park200 is These Shining Lives, a moving play about employee camaraderie in response to damage caused by their company’s negligence. Equally interesting is Yellow Face, a production exploring race and identity that will be in Park90.

With dynamic spaces, a varied programme and a great front of house experience Finsbury Park’s newest attraction is well worth a visit!

 

For more information about the season and to book tickets please click here.

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