This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 06/04/2017.
An open air theatre and an art gallery could open in Crystal Palace Park
A Crystal Palace theatre group could be “bringing the West End to south London” by hosting open air theatre in Crystal Palace Park.
As part of Bromley Council’s invitation for proposals to transform the park into a cultural hub, Crystal Palace Park Theatre (CPPT) are one organisation who have applied to do just that.
Founder of CPPT, Emily Johnson-Ferguson, 41, said the theatre group have submitted an application to the council and are hoping to bring a lot of exciting features to the park.
Mrs Johnson-Ferguson said she wants to offer an open air theatre, an art gallery, film screenings and a rehearsal space for local talent.
The mother-of-four worked in theatre for 20 years before starting a family, and said she is keen to “bring the West End to south London”.
Mrs Johnson-Ferguson said if their proposal were to get the green light, she hopes CPTT could have a trial period by May 2018, and said they would want to work directly with local talent and artists.
“We want it to put on shows that people want to see, and we want to promote all the local artists and talent in the area,” she said.
If CPTT’s trial run was successful, Mrs Johnson-Ferguson said she hopes the artistic hub could be something that would run all year round.
As well as putting on theatrical performances, the theatre group also want to have film screenings.
The idea to showcase films, Mrs Johnson-Ferguson added, could be compared to the summer cinema showings that Somerset House offers, in which people gather on outdoor seating to see film projections.
Bromley Council’s invitation for organisations to submit proposals for how to regenerate the park, currently, is being used as a scope to see what available talent exists in the area.
The council have said they would like to transform the space into a “world class cultural destination”, and in turn regenerate the Victorian Subway tunnel in the park.
Councillor Stephen Carr, leader of Bromley Council said that although this was a scoping exercise, the park could one day become a viable venue.
He said: “This is very much the first step in a process and we are seeking expressions of interest from a wide range of cultural venues to fulfil the potential of this unique location.
“We could eventually see a proposal that becomes a viable venue in its own right, while ensuring the restoration of the subway”.
The time frame to propose ideas to Bromley Council is still ongoing, with the council giving interested organisations until May 10 to submit potential ideas.
Those interested in the venue can submit applications via Bromley Council’s website.