Published: Thursday, 15th December 2022
The legendary Tramshed theatre has reopened with two nights of showstopping performances, following an extensive refurbishment by the Council, as part of its new Woolwich Leisure Centre Scheme.
Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich Cllr Anthony Okereke joined Cllr Aidan Smith, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, and the Mayor of Royal Greenwich Cllr Leo Fletcher, to celebrate the reopening on Friday night. Guests enjoyed a dynamic programme of drama, cabaret, spoken word and aerial gymnastics by Tramshed groups.
The theatre, arts and community centre runs a varied programme of performing arts activities for young people and for adults with learning disabilities and differences, together with performance space for creative groups, including new and emerging artists, and community facilities for organisations such as the Caribbean Social Forum and Oxleas Mental Health services.
The work was undertaken as the first phase of the Council’s Woolwich Leisure Centre scheme which includes high quality sports and leisure facilities designed to encourage families, young people and adults to get more active, and nearly 500 homes.
Cllr Anthony Okereke, Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, said: “The opportunities and support Tramshed gives to young people inspires them and enriches their lives; it brings together so many different local groups that are the lifeblood of our community. Finally thanks to the Council, the young people of Woolwich have got a building they deserve - a fit-for-purpose space, to continue to serve the community for many more years to come. I would encourage everyone to come to the Tramshed and find out about all the fantastic activities on offer!”
Cllr Aidan Smith, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “The Woolwich Leisure Centre regeneration scheme has enabled us to protect this fantastic heritage building. The refurbished space is modern and flexible, but we’ve made sure original features of the building like distinctive brickwork, wall tiles and steel beams are still on show. There is a new performance space with seating for 150 people, media suite, new rehearsal studios and flexible office space for local start-ups. The building is now one of just two sites in London with the capacity for aerial performances. Once our Leisure Centre is complete next-door the two buildings will be connected and the Tramshed will gain two more new studio spaces."
Cllr Adel Khaireh, Cabinet Member for Equality, Culture and Communities, said: "The iconic theatre, which has played host to legends including Hale & Pace, Billy Bragg, Julian Clary and Harry Enfield, is now set to be a venue for future stars to show what they’re made of. We’re proud to support an ambitious, inclusive organisation like Tramshed. To have served the local community for over 50 years is a truly remarkable achievement. Now the Council has created a house for Tramshed they can make it their home."
Jeremy James, Tramshed CEO said: “The wonderful people of Woolwich have been asking us when we're coming back from the moment we left, and our team has been eager and excited to return to base. The improvements to this fantastic space will allow us to deliver even more fun, inclusive activities for the local community and we’re so delighted to see the curtains go up again! From young people interested in theatre and music to adults with learning disabilities, everyone is welcome.”
Elle Pethurst, Tramshed Participation Manager, said: “We bring community and youth voice into everything we do, which is why our programme is so wonderfully varied - we listen to what people want. Everyone knows they can come here and completely be themselves; it's always fantastic to see participants turning up for their sessions ready and eager to go. Even those having a 'bad day' will leave with a smile on their face!”
Alongside two nights of special performances, local families also enjoyed more activities on Saturday, with a day of fun, free workshops and tours of the building. Visit tramshed.org for full details of what’s on.
Following planning permission being granted for the Woolwich Leisure Centre scheme in September, the site is currently being cleared in preparation for construction of a high-quality sports and leisure facility, which is expected to begin in spring 2023.