Greenwich Theatre’s iconic building is getting a fresh makeover and a new studio while behind the scenes plans are afoot for a bold new era.

The 1855 building in Crooms Hill is currently undergoing repairs to the roof thanks to Greenwich Council funding, with significant work scheduled and a closure of just 12 weeks. And it marks just the first phase in dramatic plans for the theatre.

Artistic and executive director James Haddrell said: “This is absolutely the theatre’s moment, no doubt about it.

“The local authority have invested in the building repairs, which represents a major commitment to culture at a time when arts funding is dwindling around the country.”

The building work on the outside is indicative of the new era for the theatre artistically too. Greenwich Theatre already has an enviable reputation for supporting emerging theatre companies but plans to go further with a new pop-up theatre for smaller shows, a one-year fully-paid technical theatre post for a dedicated graduate, and an Artist Development programme for up to 20 emerging artists and theatre companies.

Mr Haddrell said: “Support for the next generation of theatre makers in this country will go from being an important part of the company’s work, as it has been for 5 years, to becoming part of our DNA.”

Similarly, the current repair work is just the beginning of Greenwich Theatre’s ambitions, with rewiring and front of house improvements planned.

Commercial director Simon Francis said that reducing Greenwich Theatre’s reliance on grants and public funding was another big part of the plan.

He said: “Ten years ago, at least 60 per cent of our income came from public funding or grants but that’s now down to just 10 per cent.

“We’ve done that but maintained our turnover and have actually increased the number of shows we present and the audiences we attract. 

“Our plans are absolutely about growth. We aren’t just looking at surviving, and that’s why the council can be confident enough to make this additional investment in the building.”

Mr Haddrell added: “The package of work the whole building needs to bring it up to standard, top to bottom, is £2million - but we think it can be delivered over a period as much as 20 years.

“The work we’re doing now is the essential work, and we’re looking to match the local authority’s investment for phase two of the improvements, which will see further electrical work around the building and more improvements to the bar and studio.”

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What's coming up at Greenwich Theatre?

Greenwich Theatre is closed for 12 weeks, re-opening on September 2. There are tonnes of great shows booked before Christmas - here are just six highlights...

The Inevitable Heartbreak of Gavin Plimsole, September 6 to 10

Influenced every night by the collective heartbeats of the audience, this unique award-winning show combines comedy with a whimsical and moving story to explore how to make every beat count if you are living with only a finite number of heartbeats.

Giant, September 11 to 13

An explosive, absurd and visceral coming of age adventure, performed with the Human Zoo’s trademark visual style, transferring to Greenwich direct from a run at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Under My Thumb, September 21 to October 2

In a dystopian version of the present, six women are imprisoned for crimes against society, but did they really commit them, and is Ree, the newest prisoner to be thrown into their midst, all that she appears?

The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, September 28 to October 9

A hit in the West End and on film, Jim Cartwright’s play about a reclusive girl with a big voice.

The Haunting of Exham Priory, October 23

An adaptation of HP Lovecraft’s gothic chiller The Rats in the Walls. Mr Delapore retires to England to restore his ancestral home which has lain ruined for over 300 years but as he uncovers more and more of its past, Exham Priory reveals a truth more horrific than he could possibly have imagined.

Peter Pan: A New Adventure, November 19 to January 8

Director Andrew Pollard returns to Greenwich Theatre after a decade of pantomimes which have earned it the reputation of being one of the best in the country. This year, they tackle JM Barrie’s story of the boy who never grew up.