Theatre503 To Be 'Cultural Anchor' Tenants in Nine Elms

New state-of-the-art studio space to open in 2023

New theatre aims to be centre of excellence for early career playwrights
New theatre aims to be centre of excellence for early career playwrights

Theatre503 have been successful in their bid to create a new 320sq metre, state-of-the-art studio space in Nine Elms which will open its doors by 2023.

It joins Matt’s Gallery, World Heart Beat Academy and Chocolate Films who are taking up new premises in the area as part of Wandsworth Council’s ‘Cultural Anchor’ strategy, working with developers and partners to attract cultural organisations to weave the arts into the fabric of the borough.

The 503Studio aims to be a centre of international playwriting excellence for early career playwrights, an open space for anyone in the local community who wants to tell their story and explore their creativity and a bridge between 503’s artistic development programmes and its theatre productions staged in Theatre503’s existing Latchmere venue on Battersea Park Road.

The Battersea-based new writing venue was chosen as part of a competitive Cultural Anchor Tenancy application process by Wandsworth Council, Galliard Homes and Royal Mail Group, managed by BOP Consulting.

With a £250,000 contribution from Galliard towards its fit-out, the 503Studio at Nine Elms will include a rehearsal suite, multi-purpose event spaces, a creative area for writers including desks and a reading room, as well as housing the administrative offices of Theatre503. This will enable the theatre to expand their programme, in particular engaging with more people in the Nine Elms community and the borough of Wandsworth.

Cllr Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, said, “We are delighted to have delivered another cultural anchor partnership which connects culture and community and brings the reality of Nine Elms as an arts destination a step closer.

“This growing neighbourhood is shown to be the place of choice for arts organisations as they expand to reach new audiences.

“I welcome Theatre503 extending its reach to this part of Wandsworth and look forward to working together as we make Nine Elms an even more lively destination.”

The 503Studio at Nine Elms is due to be built and completed before the end of 2023, alongside the installation of a lift and refurbished floor to open up access to Theatre503 at their existing home above The Latchmere.

Theatre503's current home is at The Latchmere

Theatre503 was awarded the peppercorn rent 99-year tenure after showing the potential to deliver a bigger impact in the local community, as well as their ongoing commitment to audiences and participants in Wandsworth. Recent Council-supported projects include their first ever livestreamed production of The Fairytale Revolution, which was shared for free to 9,605 local schoolchildren in December and Right to Write, a beginners playwriting course for people who live or work in Nine Elms.

The site, just off Nine Elms Lane, will be situated in Nine Elms Park and next to the new Nine Elms school.

Lisa Spirling and Andrew Shepherd, Artistic and Executive Directors of Theatre503, said, “The 503Studio at Nine Elms is a game changing moment in the history of Theatre503 and will have a seismic impact on the new writing ecology for generations to come. Diversity begins with who is telling the stories. While this has been a driving force in how we programme throughout the year, we cannot achieve this without actively seeking out writers and the artists who bring their words to life from all backgrounds and support them to put their work on stage. The 503Studio gives us the opportunity to take this commitment even further with a unique, world class centre opening up even more creative opportunities for all. It will be a vibrant, open, accessible and welcoming space where early career playwrights from all over the world rub shoulders with local residents looking for a creative outlet. The 503Studio will be a vital destination for writers of the future to find their voice, develop their craft and feed directly into the final productions in our Latchmere home.

“What we are particularly excited about is being able to create a permanent presence in Nine Elms where anybody who lives, works or is simply passing by can walk through our doors and find out not only what’s on offer in our 503 spaces but also all the other cultural opportunities in Nine Elms and Wandsworth. The 503Studio at Nine Elms will be a significant creative and learning space that lasts and is a lasting legacy for Theatre503, the borough of Wandsworth and the theatre sector.”

A spokesperson for Galliard Homes said, “We received some excellent proposals for the unit and very much enjoyed working with Wandsworth Council and Royal Mail throughout the process. We are especially pleased to be working with Theatre503 to build a world class centre of excellence within Nine Elms. Supporting future generations in gaining new skills through training is something Galliard Homes are passionate about. We are therefore pleased to be working with Theatre503 to support the next generation of playwrights, ensuring the UK creative industry can flourish.”

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July 7, 2021