From the spring of next year Brixton will be home to a major new centre of the performing arts. Ovalhouse Theatre, with its long tradition of supporting innovation, diverse cultural productions and community engagement, is relocating from Kennington to Coldharbour Lane and will be renamed Brixton House.
A new Artistic Director, Gbolahan Obisesan has been appointed to lead the theatre into the future. He succeeds Deborah Bestwick who steps down after 20 years at the helm. With an illustrious career as a writer and director of plays, he has worked at the National Theatre and the Young Vic, as well as the Edinburgh Fringe and regional theatre.
The relocation took a step nearer recently at a “topping out” ceremony attended by Lambeth councillors, builders, Ovalhouse staff and children from Hill Mead primary school. See blog post here.
He said Ovalhouse “is now relocating to the heart of Brixton to build on its community outlook and artistic inventiveness. The history of Brixton is proudly political, and its rich blend of cultures will inspire the new theatre to be a cradle for startling stories and extraordinary art … (and to) cultivate an inclusive, innovative, and thrilling environment for life and art to interact with people from Brixton and beyond.”
Chair of Brixton House David Bryan said: “Brixton House will be a significant vibrant cultural focus with a grounding in relevant theatre. Gbolahan brings a reputation for quality as a writer and director. He is part of the next generation of creative leadership.
“Brixton in 2020 will be the start of future decades of creativity, inclusion and a space for diverse talent to be seen as part of the area’s and London’s vitality”.
The new theatre has been funded by the sale of the site in Kennington to Surrey County Cricket Club, a £3 million grant from Arts Council England and a partnership with Lambeth council.
Doors will open in April 2021 and there will be theatre and performance spaces, public spaces, a cafe and a bar.