Echo of the Waltham Forest | The theater of the west comes to the east
A new cabaret theater, promising quality West End shows at a fraction of the price, has opened in Leyton, reports Victoria Munro
The East London Cabaret Theater held its first show in Leyton Great Hall on September 2.
The theater was funded with the help of £ 169,500 from the Arts Council of England’s Culture Recovery Fund, the largest amount of money awarded in the borough by a large margin.
Its proceeds will go to the LVE Foundation, a charity that rents the venue and has spent five years taking young people to custody to warn them about the crime.
Creative director Simon Hanning said the aim was to create a unique theater space in Waltham Forest, if not London, and tap into the borough’s great appetite for culture.
He said: “No one has really made such a big cabaret space before. You have cabaret spaces in central London which are great, but they are very small.
“There aren’t really any other theater spaces in Waltham Forest other than the one being built in the EMD cinema, and there are enough people living here who want that sort of thing.
“We’ll be featuring high end performers you would normally see in the West End for around £ 100 – but we won’t charge more than £ 25, and that’s the top end.”
The renovation of the old town hall building was a labor of love for the small theater team, who spent the first confinement hand-polishing their brass chandeliers.
The theater has also been busy without being able to open by broadcasting a live Christmas show for local nursing home residents and hospital patients to “bring them some joy.”
Upcoming productions will focus on the performance of The Beatles at Granada and Laurie Cunningham, a footballer from Leyton Orient who became one of the first black British players to achieve international fame.
The theater also plans to host classic movie nights, a short film festival and an interactive murder mystery night, around a wedding, as part of its schedule for next year.
In addition to the benefits of its shows, the new theater will also allow the LVE Foundation to offer young people training in theater and film professions.
Karen Bellamy, local elected representative who works for the Foundation, said: “A lot of young people in theater are middle class, this can give children who don’t have these benefits the opportunity to get involved.
Find out more about the theater and its upcoming shows on www.elcheatre.com