Theatre calls for volunteers to aid move

Mural detail by Carlos "Botong" Francisco

Arcola Theatre will unveil their new premises on Ashwin St next week, and are making a final call for volunteers to help complete their new home in the Colourworks building.

The acclaimed theatre was established on Arcola St in Dalston ten years ago, but is now moving in the face of planned building works at their current address.

The privately-owned upper floors are to be converted into apartments, which will render the lower levels unfit for the theatre’s purposes.

In line with the theatre’s strong environmental ethos, the move to Ashwin St has been conducted in what Head of Marketing Barry Wilson calls “a radical, DIY and sustainable way.” Volunteers have been involved on a weekly basis, painting, clearing out debris and engaging in basic manual labour.

To fund the move, Arcola launched an appeal last September, though as ELL reported in November, they fell significantly short of their target. Speaking at the time, Mr. Wilson wasn’t overly concerned about the shortfall, pointing out that Arcola has never been reliant on external funding.

“We have had to rethink how we’re going to progress,” he said in November, “but studio one and the foyer will be ready for January. It’ll just take us a little longer to get to the level at which Arcola currently stands.”

Part of that rethink has involved the public call for volunteers, tasked with helping to get the new bulding up to scratch. This week has seen a final push for the company, ahead of next week’s first performance of “The Painter”. The theatre has been open from 8am to 8pm each day, with volunteers pitching in with the manual work.

The volunteer effort continues this weekend, as well as an Arcola bayanihan through the streets of Dalston on Sunday at 2pm. Inspired by the Filipino tradition, volunteers will help move the contents of the old theatre, led by a New Orleans style brass band on a procession to the new premises.

For a video highlighting the transformation of the premises see here.

Anyone wishing to volunteer at the refurbishment should contact the Arcola theatre first, to make sure the volunteer effort hasn’t been over-subscribed. Those wishing to partake in the Bayanihan need simply assemble at the old theatre on Arcola St from 2pm, Sunday.

Leave a Reply