Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Greenwich In The News!

Mending Up Greenwich Theatre

James Haddrell, Greenwich Theatre’s new executive director, has vowed to revive the venue’s relationship with the local community and raise its profile to a wider audience. The theatre’s former head of marketing took over from Hilary Strong, now director for the National Council for Drama Training, earlier this month and will oversee both the site’s artistic and administrative workload.

He told The Stage: “I have been here for quite a long time and have a good understanding of the plans for the future. I’m responsible for programming and dabbling in the production of in-house work, but equally I will be balancing the books at the end of the year. I do think it’s a huge job, but I think that the theatre is just the right size for the model.”

Haddrell believes that his greatest challenge will be reconciling the theatre’s position as a London venue with the fact that it is situated outside the centre of the city. He said: “It is a theatre with a split personality. Because it is one zone away from the West End, it should attract a London audience. But Greenwich also has a regional feel, because we are funded primarily as a touring house.”

As well as increasing advertising, Haddrell will try changing performance times to encourage people to travel into Greenwich. If the theatre can secure funding in addition to that which it already receives from the local council, he also aims to increase the venue’s producing work.

However, Haddrell complained: “South London has such a pitiful percentage of London arts support. The art subsidy spent in London is so north-London-centric.”

Until funding is secured, Haddrell is looking into co-producing work with other regional venues, and presenting outdoor productions around Greenwich. He also plans to make the site available to community groups throughout the day to raise the theatre’s public profile. It is currently also used by young people on theatre apprenticeships.

“I hope we can bring in others - mother and baby groups, or knitting circles. It doesn’t matter. If we can make the space available for community groups, they will build a relationship with the building and feel comfortable here.”

The theatre’s 15-show autumn season will open on August 28 with The Gruffalo’s Child, directed by Olivia Jacobs.

Teen Girls Saved from River Mud in Greenwich

TWO teenage girls were dramatically saved after being stuck in mud and sand on the Thames shoreline in Greenwich as the tide rapidly closed in on them. Coastguards were alerted to the girls' plight at 4pm on Monday.

The girls, aged 15 and 16, were pulled to safety using police mud mats and brought to the shore by the Tower Royal Navy Lifeboat. One girl suffered an ankle injury and the other needed treatment for shock. The Marine police and London Fire Brigade also attended the incident.

Coastguard watch manager Frank Aubin-Hart warned people that if they do get stuck in a similar way, they should stay as still as possible because if they wriggle to get free they increase the chance of going under.

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