Woolwich Grand Theatre gets go-ahead from council

A rare bit of good news for Woolwich – plans to convert the old cinema/nightclub building on Wellington Street into an arts centre got planning permission from Greenwich Council last night.

The building’s been empty for a few years following the closure of the N’Tyce club there, which succeeded infamous 80s/90s venue Flamingos (or, as we called it, Flaming Joe’s).

The Woolwich Grand Theatre scheme involves using it as a cinema and theatre, with a weekly arts market each Saturday. Founder and director Adrian Green is hoping to open up with a cafeteria first – although may need to sort out a further licence before he can do this.

I’ve been inside and while many of the old fittings were ripped out during its nightclub days, the plan is to restore the building, which was as an ABC cinema until the 1980s, to its 1950s glory. The old projector’s still there, but for now there’ll be small screenings of classic films, like you’ll find at film clubs in Deptford and Brockley.

Woolwich has lacked a performance venue since the 1970s and 1980s heyday of the Tramshed, and its last cinema – the Coronet – closed in the 1990s. There’s already a number of people with their eyes on the stage.

If Woolwich is ever to get back on its feet, it needs an independent focus for the community, and it looks like it’s going to get that. I’m looking forward to following the progress Adrian makes with the project.

7 comments

  1. Chris

    Quite agree, really good news. I wish everyone well with this project.

    Particularly looking forward to an indy-type cinema that I can just jump onto the bus to get to.

  2. Gabriella Coscia

    There seems to be a lot of change now going on in Woolwich.

    Sainsbury’s is being modernised for the first time since the 70’s or at least since it opened. The travelodge has not even been started and it’s for sale as an investment for in excess of £7m according to Craddicks retail 2011 site.
    Premier Inn coming to the DLR station near Costa, and Blue Inc returning to Woolwich with both mens and womenswear in the former Ethel Austin store whilst even the old Nationwide Building Society is now under offer according to Shop Property.co.uk. That, and the new shoe shop at the old Body Shop/ Game unit and the Tesco development taking shape and it seems Woolwich is up and coming – and recovered quickly from the riots

  3. Pingback: Early October roundup « Open Mic Greenwich
  4. Pingback: Planning farce as Greenwich Council backs equestrian centre « 853
  5. Martin Thorpe

    Wonderful news, I often look back at my days within the day to day runnings of the abc with the fondest memories.
    As a child I would attend the “Saturday morning pictures” at the abc where both my mother and grandmother worked and recall the period when the cinema closed as a landmark for the decline of the area. I would be glad to offer any asistance with the historic restoration (if any) as I retain both memory and memorobilia.

  6. Jo Barwick

    Hi Martin, great to read your post. Would you please contact the theatre to join us for ‘Woolwich memories’? – one of our talk evenings! Ask for Jo for more information. Thanks, Jo

  7. Pingback: Woolwich Grand under threat – and Greenwich Theatre too? | 853

Hello! Please join the discussion below.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s