Theatre cafe closes, but the shows go on

Posted On 20 Oct 2016 at 2:19 pm

A theatre company has reassured audiences that even though the curtains have come down on its front of house cafe, the playhouse itself is still thriving.
88-london-road
People passing by 88 London Road in the last week have been alarmed to see a liquidation notice on the front door, raising fears the whole theatre has closed down.

But the notice refers instead to the company which ran the quirky cafe at the front of the converted Methodist church, not the theatre at the back.

The failure of the cafe was blamed on inconsistent income and the upkeep of the facilities, which despite the hiring of a new head chef earlier this year and a new kitchen and bar meant it struggled to keep afloat. The landlord is now actively looking for new tenants to take over the cafe space.

The building entrances will be reconfigured so that the public can enter the theatre without going through the cafe. In the meantime, the cafe doors will be open for audiences before and during shows.

Run for Great Ormond Street Hospital

The theatre’s artistic director James Weisz, who was also involved in the company which ran the cafe, said: “My passion is concentrating on theatre and the arts in Brighton and continuing to run as a community interest company and to do that and still keep 88 London Road operational, the company which ran the café-bar has had to go.

“We are now awaiting a new café operator to take over the front section of the premises.”

The theatre is currently running performances of Sweeney Todd are running to 29th October and tickets for its Christmas pantomime, Beauty and the Beast, are also on sale.

The last year has been an eventful one for the theatre, which opened in spring 2013 as Emporium. In January, its patron Alan Rickman sadly passed away, then in March it announced it had become a community interest company and was rebranding as 88 London Road.

Two years ago, the cafe became host to the UK’s first Happy Cafe, which have a range of literature, posters, pamphlets and postcards relating to happiness on display.

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