Southwark Playhouse announces second venue in London Bridge


Southwark Playhouse today announced plans to double its capacity with a new venue at Colechurch House in London Bridge from 2025. This will enable Southwark Playhouse to significantly expand its award-winning artistic and community programmes. The new Colechurch House venue in London Bridge will join Southwark Playhouse’s new venue in Elephant and Castle which is set to open next year.

A deal with property developer CIT will give Southwark Playhouse a new c.£10m purpose-built venue, with two theatre spaces, a café bar and dedicated front and back of house facilities. The main theatre has a capacity of 250 and the second seats 150.

The theatre is part of CIT’s proposed redevelopment of Colechurch House, a redundant 1960s office block located at the southern end of London Bridge. Architectural designs by Foster + Partners are for a 22 storey zero-carbon office development, floating four storeys above a new landscaped park.

The new venue will be provided by CIT at a genuinely affordable rent for the lifetime of the theatre.

Southwark Playhouse artistic director and CEO, Chris Smyrnios, said:

“The move back to London Bridge has been a long time in the making, with many twists and turns. This deal with CIT brings us back to the London Bridge area and gives us a brand new venue that provides us with much needed capacity, critical to ensuring the future of our organisation.

The new theatre and our involvement has been central to CIT’s plans for Colechurch House from the beginning. They and their architects Foster + Partners have worked tirelessly to get the space and the deal right for us all through the depths of the pandemic.

We get a brilliant new theatre that sits right at the gateway to London Bridge Station. It will mark a step change in our artistic output, and also open up exciting new possibilities for our youth and community programmes.”

Leader of Southwark Council, Kieron Williams, said:

“This is a great deal for the Playhouse and a testament to its strength as an institution. We are pleased to have been able to support them through the pandemic and to help them secure this deal with CIT.

At a time when theatres in London have faced unparalleled challenges it is great to see the Playhouse not just survive, but double in size. This will significantly increase the opportunities the Playhouse can offer to local Southwark residents and new and emerging theatre talent.”