My daughter first introduced me to Southwark Playhouse about 18 years ago, and we have really loved going to see the plays together. Because of this, when I retired I decided to see if they would take me as a volunteer.
I loved it from the start – the staff were friendly and very supportive with a nice informal atmosphere. Somehow the theatre attracts a really nice audience, many of whom come back time and time again, meaning we’ve gotten to know each other over time.
The plays are varied and change frequently so I get to see loads of exciting stuff, and I often stay after a Saturday matinee to have a drink with the other volunteers, some of whom have become good friends.
I volunteer for four other charities and Southwark Playhouse is definitely my favourite. It’s got a fond place in my heart.
I first found out about Southwark Playhouse when I moved to London to start studying Drama and Performance at LSBU. A lecturer mentioned the playhouse as a great place to volunteer to see theatre shows for free, which was perfect on a student budget.
I knew it was somewhere I would stay, because the place struck me as warm and inviting, and the staff were always friendly. After I’d spent a few months as a volunteer, a bar vacancy was advertised and I didn’t hesitate to apply. I was sure I wouldn’t get it due to my lack of experience, but Southwark was incredibly open and let me take the time to learn.
After already proving it was great for development, Southwark did one better by offering to train me as a duty manager, a brilliant opportunity for me to train my managerial skills whilst still at university.
I plan to stay with the company for a long time as they’re able to create a warm and inclusive atmosphere for all their staff, which is easily transferred to audiences.
I have been involved with Southwark Playhouse Elders Company from its beginning, and have found it all huge fun, a great creative outlet, and very good for confidence building.
As the Elders Company, we’ve devised and put on several shows, plus we’ve done two shows with young people – a summer sharing with the Young Company, and Mind the Gap with the students from the South Bank University. Plus we’ve done play reading sessions, and a music workshop. We’re currently working on another show, and all sorts of ideas are bubbling up. I’ve loved all of it and learnt an amazing amount, both about creating characters and scenes, and working together to support each other.
I’ve met some amazing people & made some really good friends. I especially enjoyed working with the young people, and found it great we have so much in common. Thanks to Southwark Playhouse for everything!
As a local resident and dedicated young actor performing in a Youth and Community production ten years ago, I was asked to help found a ‘Young Company.’ Being a naturally nosy person, I was fascinated by everything going on, and Southwark Playhouse gave me the freedom to explore different aspects of theatre, progressing from YoCo to ASM to stage managing and operating my own show. The team and I formed a personal relationship, leading me to become their first ever apprentice.
At the end of my apprenticeship I was offered a part-time job helping out with the move from London Bridge to Newington Causeway, and then a full-time technician role. My time and love for the theatre continue to grow along with my personal and professional skills which got me into my current role as Assistant Technical Manager.
I owe Southwark huge thanks for my successful career in theatre and for who it has made me into. It has always been and will always be a home from home.
I’m a director and dramaturg specialising in new musical theatre, including Superhero which won the Off-West End Award for Best New Musical after its 2017 run at Southwark Playhouse. I have two future projects lined up here: The Rink, and Wasted.
What I love about Southwark Playhouse is that they genuinely care about artists and good art above all else. Musical theatre is so regularly thought of only as commercial entertainment, to have a space that cares about the possibilities of the art form is refreshing and essential.
I graduated from the Southwark Playhouse Young Company in 2016. I’ve written and performed two shows at the playhouse: Modern Romance in 2015, and Beast, in 2017. I currently work as a facilitator and have enjoyed projects with the Elders Company.
I love the rich and diverse work that Southwark Playhouse puts on, and the amount of opportunity and support it gives its artists.
I first became involved with the playhouse in 2008 – as an aspiring young actor – taking part in workshops led by visiting production companies. Sometime in 2009, I co-founded the Southwark Playhouse Young Company (Yo.Co). This served as my introduction into the theatre world and most importantly stage directing. Through the playhouse, the young company has provided me with the opportunity and space to creatively explore, experiment and develop my skills as a theatre maker.
The level of artistic support the company provides is incredible and that’s what makes it so brilliant.
I’ve been involved in Off-West End productions for most of my life, starting with the Lambeth Players and continuing with Stratford Circus Theatre. During my time in Young Company I’ve performed in many different pieces, including Fugee, Little Foot, and Remote. Through YoCo I’ve been taught many different aspects of theatre, like movement, writing, speech, combat, and spoken word, that I know will aid me in my ambition to be a director and writer.
I first worked at Southwark Playhouse when it was in Tooley Street, as part of the team for lighting fit ups/maintenance/get outs. After helping transfer the venue to Elephant and Castle, I worked with LD Tim Mascall on the first ever production in ‘The Large’, and Tim has also become a good friend and work colleague. This connection has since had me touring the world with a design of his, all because of our link through Southwark Playhouse.
Seeing, and helping designers use the performance spaces inspired my work, and allowed me to experiment with my own designs, both at Southwark Playhouse and at other studios.
There are so many wonderful people that come through the building, and all are inspired by the great work they’ve seen at Southwark, and create great work in turn. I feel so excited to now be returning as lighting designer. I really look forward to returning each time, knowing I have the support of the team around me, and most importantly, knowing they’ll be organising a large gin at the bar afterwards!
I have been associated with Southwark Playhouse for almost 4 years. I joined Southwark Playhouse Young Company in September 2014 and was a part of it until 2018. During that time I participated in many Young Company productions, in the Tiny, Little and the Large. I learnt a lot, and met some really talented and brilliant people during my time in the company.
In 2016 I started working behind the bar in the theatre, and made some really special friends whilst working there and being part of the company. The atmosphere at Southwark Playhouse is like no other place. It felt like family, and to be very honest, I would not be where I am today had I not been so closely connected to this theatre.
I started volunteering as an usher in 2013 when I retired and needed a way to keep seeing plays. In this way I was able to see a wide variety, and had the bonus of learning that I love selling programmes! In May 2015 I found an offer for 10 drama sessions on offer for the over 65’s, and now as a member of the Elders Company I find myself starting my week grinning from 10:30-12:30 – who can fault that! Four productions later, I’m still having a stimulating, challenging time.
In August 2015 I also joined the People’s Company. My roles through this have included Queen Mary visiting Zeppelin raid survivors, Henry V welcoming his troops back from Agincourt on the Old Kent Road, and two historical productions in the now closed Coronet cinema. It’s often well out of my comfort zone, which is why I love performing – it gives me an adrenaline rush!
Southwark Playhouse is such a vibrant, friendly place and it offers me so much, including interesting friendships with a variety of people.
Southwark Playhouse is a place I’ve been involved with for a few years now, and I’m always glad to be there. It’s a very friendly place and great if you want to see a show or just want to sit down and have a chat with friends.
My favourite part about it is the Young Company, which I’m in. They are a delight to work/perform alongside and I believe they all have great futures ahead of them. There is also a younger company who I’ve seen a few times and are brilliant, and an Elder’s Company, who are wonderful and just very kind people in general.
I would say the best thing about the Southwark Playhouse is that it is welcoming, friendly and makes you feel like you’re at home.
The People’s Company was born out of my desire to create a platform for local people to express themselves through theatre. Southwark Playhouse has allowed a laboratory of local creativity and expression to be created in the heart of Southwark, and it has allowed me to enable my community through what I personally love the most in life – the power and beauty of theatre.
We have done a variety of projects such as an animated history trail animating the TATE WW1 archives, and this year we’ve devised, written, and directed a new play called Thames Tales, about the regeneration of North Southwark and the challenges and opportunities it offers. This summer we are working with the Globe on a community version of As You Like It, which shows the amazing partnerships and growth of the Peoples Company.
I will be forever grateful for the opportunity the Playhouse has given me and the company, and I look forward to this new chapter in its history.