Theatre for the masses is coming to Croydon as Zoo Co are taking over an empty space in the Whitgift Centre for three months.
Following the end of their two-year-run of ‘Giant’, the millennial zeitgeist play about a graduate moving home, the company have expressed their excitement at making theatre in their Croydon home.
Theatre on the High Street is run from the space in the soon to be demolished shopping centre and will provide performances and pay what you can or free theatre workshops.
“We trialled it last year with Theatre in the Market in Croydon market in amongst the fruit and veg sellers and we had 6 days and 6 events and had the most interesting audience we’ve ever had,” said creative producer and performer Rosalind Hoy.
She said: “We had people for whom English wasn’t their first or even second language and children who had never stepped foot in a theatre, we proved that you need to put theatre in people’s way to prove that it’s not just for the elite or for the few, it’s for the many and every person can enjoy it.”
Due to the closure of small theatres and lack of affordable rehearsal spaces the Croydon based company had never been able to create theatre in its home until now.
Arts funding has been cut by £230m since 2010 with local councils cutting funding to venues and schemes amid growing financial pressures.
Miss Hoy is a passionate defender of arts funding and Zoo Co have had three successful bids for funding from The Arts Council and she is adamant that their company would not have survived without it.
“It fills me with absolute dread that The Arts Council could in some way be threatened, it’s the entire structure of our company and enables us to bring theatre to people who wouldn’t be able to or wouldn’t want to engage with theatre otherwise,” she said.
“Small companies like ours need this funding to survive and grow. If our arts funding was taken away we wouldn’t exist.”
Theatre on the High Street was part funded by Croydon Council, the Arts Council, several London theatres and the Whitgift Foundation.
The company begins workshops this week and are partnering with three Croydon schools including The Brit School, a special education and mental health school and a high school.
“We’ve always liked access, it’s always been at the centre of everything we do.”
Find out more and book into upcoming events at
What: Theatre on the High Street by Zoo Co
Where: Whitfgift Centre, Croydon, CR0 1TY
When: From May 25 until end of July
How: Short walk from both East and West Croydon train stations
More information: https://wearezooco.co.uk/toths/
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