South London gets a ‘game-changing’ new home for aspiring writers

·2-min read
Gabrielle Brooks in J’Ouvert which started at Theatre 503 (Helen Murray)
Gabrielle Brooks in J’Ouvert which started at Theatre 503 (Helen Murray)

A south London theatre has announced plans for a “game changing” new building to support up the next generation of young playwrights.

Battersea’s Theatre 503 has signed a deal to bring the building to Nine Elms by 2023.

The 63-seat theatre, based above a pub, has a track record of promoting new talent including Yasmin Joseph whose Notting Hill carnival-set drama J’Ouvert is currently in the West End,

The venue is part funded by developers Galliard - to the tune of £250,000 - and will include rehearsal rooms, a writing room and offices for the theatre’s admin staff.

Its artistic and executive directors Lisa Spirling and Andrew Shepherd said: “The 503 Studio at Nine Elms is a game changing moment in the history of Theatre 503 and will have a seismic impact on the new writing ecology for generations to come.

“Diversity begins with who is telling the stories. While this has been a driving force in how we programme throughout the year, we cannot achieve this without actively seeking out writers and the artists who bring their words to life from all backgrounds and support them to put their work on stage.

“The 503 Studio gives us the opportunity to take this commitment even further with a unique, world class centre opening up even more creative opportunities for all. It will be a vibrant, open, accessible and welcoming space where early career playwrights from all over the world rub shoulders with local residents looking for a creative outlet.

“The 503 studio will be a vital destination for writers of the future to find their voice, develop their craft and feed directly into the final productions in our Latchmere home.”

Councilllor Ravi Govindia, the leader of Wandsworth Council, said the move proved the area’s reputation as “the place of choice for arts organisations”.

It will be just down the road from the new Royal Academy of Dance building which is another partnership between cultural organisations and developers.

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