Brighton pub theatre relocates

The Nightingale Theatre

The Nightingale Theatre

First published in News by

An award-winning theatre is seeking a new home after a brewery took over their previous performance space.

The Nightingale Theatre, which is a staple of the Brighton arts scene and a multi-Argus Angel winner, has been based above the Grand Central pub, in Surrey Street, for more than 30 years.

However, with the pub recently being taken over by Fullers brewery, it is to be closed for refurbishment between April and June.

Bosses at the theatre, which is known for small-scale innovative productions, feel the changes to the building will prevent them continuing their work.

Former artists, supporters and special guests gathered on Friday (March 28) to toast the venue and write their lasting memories on its walls.

Kate Gowar, theatre producer at the Nightingale, said: “It was a fantastic final night tinged with sadness. It has been a brilliant space for us over the years so it was quite an emotional evening.

“Many people started their careers here. It was the first place many were reviewed or the first time they had an audience experience. It's only a tiny space but its ripples have gone far.”

Although the actual foundation date of the theatre is disputed, there has been a group above the pub for more than 30 years.

In that time they have become known as one of the premier art organisations in Brighton and Hove.

Their existing agreement with pub owners Drink in Brighton saw them have the freedom to use the space for workshops and productions - while at the same time bringing in customers.

While new owners, Fullers, have offered for them to stay, theatre bosses said there would not be the same freedoms and declined.

The group will now move temporarily into the Malborough Theatre, in Prince's Street, while they look for a permanent base.

Kate Gowar added: “We are looking for not only a development space but also somewhere we can have a theatre, so we need the facilities to rig lights etc.

“It could be anywhere: the upstairs of a pub or café. Artists love coffee and cake so obviously a café would be perfect.

“I think it would be a great draw for a business to have a theatre upstairs or in the back. We would bring customers from both in and outside the city for performances.”

While searching for a new home, the theatre group has vowed to continue with their planned programme.

For this May's Brighton Fringe they will present Host, a new play written by city-based Tom Crouch.

They will also have a number of productions at the Malborough Theatre in the run up to May including multimedia show All Roads Lead to Rome on April 23.

For more details and to offer your venue as a new home, visit www.nightingaletheatre.co.uk.

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