Theatres Trust statement on the Charles Cryer Studio Theatre

London Borough of Sutton have listed the Charles Cryer Studio Theatre as available to let for a commercial rent. The theatre has been vacant since the council’s appointed operators for this and the nearby Secombe Theatre, Sutton Theatres Trust, went in to administration in August 2016. This leaves Sutton as the only London borough with no theatre provision. The Charles Cryer is currently on the Theatres at Risk register.

Due to the terms of their agreement, when the operator went into administration, all of the theatre equipment within both venues was sold off. This will mean any new operator may face significant fit out costs.

This decision to market the venue follows the council’s rejection of proposals from a community group to operate the theatre citing the council’s need for a higher rental return. These are challenging times for local authorities and they are under tight financial pressures however the expectation of a profit from a community facility is concerning. The theatre was previously operated directly by the council for which they will not have received a surplus, therefore the provision of a theatre at a peppercorn rent would be an appropriate response if the council no longer wished to run the service directly.

The Theatres Trust believes the council’s expectations of a commercial rent for this community asset are unreasonable and Theatres Trust will oppose applications to change its use while there is such clear demand for a theatre from the local community.

Find out more about the Charles Cryer Studio Theatre, Sutton.

Image | Charles Cryer Studio Theatre, Sutton Theatres, 2015