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Outdoor theatre extravaganza set to mark the Albany's 30th birthday in Deptford
LIFE-SIZED puppets, music and theatre will spill out onto the streets of Deptford as the Albany theatre launches its 30th birthday celebrations.
In the three decades since Princess Di opened the doors in Douglas Way, the theatre has become entrenched as one of the top venues in south east London and has thirty ways to celebrate, kicking off with a weekend of free performance.
Chief executive Gavin Barlow said: “I think of the Albany as the best venue for theatre and dance and spoken word in south east London.
“The secret to our success is that we are very much part of the local area.
“The Albany is used by local people every day and it has got a whole range of different stuff going on all the time.”
On Saturday, September 8, theatre group Red Herring will present their life-sized alternative version of Punch and Judy, That’s The Way To Do It, in Griffin Square and Albany Square at 11.30am and 1.30pm.
Over at Albany Garden at 3pm and 5pm fanSHEN presents its Alice in Wonderland-inspired Green and Pleasant Land.
On Sunday, September 9, C-12 Dance Theatre will present The Van Man in Douglas Way and Griffin Square at 12.30pm and 3pm – an entertaining, congestion-charge-defying explosion of theatrical dance in and around a Luton van.
A Bandstand Marathon will be the biggest free music event in Deptford, while Tag It – an afternoon of unique performance and visual arts by 13 to 19-year-olds will pop up around Deptford all afternoon.
Leading up to the weekend, Teatro Vivo is bringing back their sold-out, interactive, promenade production, The Odyssey back to Deptford.
Other events lined up include an adaptation of Rumplestiltskin for under sevens at Christmas, a Nightwatch performance on the roof of Deptford Lounge on September 21, a circus festival in November and a series of one-off performances from the theatre’s friends over the years.
Mr Barlow said: “It felt like it is a good time to take things outside onto the streets of Deptford.
"It seemed like a good idea to go out and celebrate.
“There will be events popping up all over the place.”
He said that a mix of young people and local artists would provide a different atmosphere.
He said: “There have been a lot of big outdoor events recently and we wanted a feel that is a bit more home-grown.”
The Albany’s hey day was back in the 80s when comics like Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer and Julian Clary honed their act there, and musicians like Elvis Costello and Squeeze built a fanbase.
Mr Barlow took over nine years ago.
He said: “It was in a kind of lull from the mid-90s.
"It had pretty much lost all its funding and had hardly any programme for theatre.
"Over the last nine years we have built up the programme and support and it has got busier.
“We are now in a really good position.
"Our audience has grown every year for the last five or six years and there is every sign, even in difficult financial times, that people really value what we are doing.
“The sense of community is a really important factor as well.
“The local support has been really strong.”
Find out more and book tickets for The Odyssey (£12 and £10 concessions) at thealbany.org.uk.