Entertainment

Vauxhall’s exclusive LGBT+ theatre Above the Stag forced to close

A national landmark for LGBT+ theatre, Above the Stag, has been forced to close as it could not form a “feasible business plan” for the next five years.

The theatre announced in a statement today a combination of a “financially very challenging” five years and planned work in the railway arches by Network Rail meant it would have to close.

The theatre announced on Sunday that it would be closing but only released the details today of why.

As a Charity and the UK’s only exclusively LGBT+ Theatre, we are delighted to have staged award winning productions, sponsored new talent of every kind, provided a rare cross-generational queer space for our LGBT+ community and given you all great nights out.

Andy Hill, Above the Stag’s operations director and producer, said in the statement: “As a charity and the UK’s only exclusively LGBT+ theatre, we are delighted to have staged award winning productions, sponsored new talent of every kind, provided a rare cross-generational queer space for our LGBT+ community and given you all great nights out.

“Regretfully, it has not been possible to come up with a feasible business plan for the next five years in our existing venue.

“Our landlord, The Arch Company, has been very understanding and supportive.

“Another contributing factor in the decision to close is that Network Rail, as a priority, have to carry out a full back to brick safety inspection and repairs to the arches within the next six months.

“The arches have to be closed, emptied, stripped back, and then all reinstated after the repairs are completed.”

The mayor’s office said it had not been by the theatre at any point to discuss its problems.

London’s Night Czar, Amy Lamé, said: “Our beloved LGBTQI+ venues are at the heart of life in the capital, entertaining and welcoming the community, and also employing thousands of Londoners.

“We’ve been working hard to protect venues, which suffered the impact of the pandemic restrictions, as well as ongoing issues of insecure leases, staff shortages and the spiralling cost of doing business.

“I was hugely concerned that Above The Stag theatre and bar suddenly closed over the weekend and have been in touch to offer our full support.”

But the theatre offered a dose of hope to the LGBT+ community saying all its equipment was being transferred into storage for a new venue at a later date.

It said it had received commitments of £2m for the next five years to find a new venue and to create a business plan.

Pictured top: Above the Stag theatre (Picture: Google Street View)

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