A new operator is being sought to run the cafe and bars at Catford’s Broadway Theatre in order to make the Grade II listed building ‘a destination’ for south London.
The council has invited applications from experienced catering companies until December 5. It will install the selected operator by spring 2017, who is then expected to “designate the café a south London destination”.
Councillor Chris Best, cabinet member for Health, Wellbeing and Older People, said: “We’re looking for the right operator to work with the theatre staff to realise the huge further potential of the café and bars so that they become thriving, important assets that benefit the growing local community and visitors from beyond Lewisham.”
The art-deco theatre, built in 1932, regularly hosts productions along with the occasional movie screening. The council plans to put it through a series of minor repairs in the short term, but more extensive works in the longer term rely on external funding to safeguard the future of the theatre.
Some visitors do not believe they will see a fully-functional theatre any time soon.
P Marquisa, age 47, said: “Modernisation of the Broadway has been talked about for many years now. But no council has been fully committed to doing it. I anticipate it’s going to take many more years.”
Another visitor, wished to remain unnamed, believes it’s not just about the regeneration. She said: “I think the problem is that Catford is just not ‘cool’ enough yet to revel in café culture!”
The 800-seat theatre underwent a £2 million refurbishment in 1999, but three quarters of this money was used for essential works to keep the building operational. At the time, the council claimed it needed further investment to be fully modernised.
The current revamp is part of the Lewisham council’s wide-scale regeneration plan for Catford. They hope to see over 1000 new homes built in the area in the next 10 years. The plan also includes the redevelopment of offices and the Civic Suite, new retail outlets and public spaces.
The grand ‘masterplan’ will be designed over the next 12 months, and a strategy for development delivery will follow.
Are you a regular visitor to the Catford Broadway? Tell us what you think of the plans by commenting below.
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