Theatreland

Theatre Royal, StratfordTheatre Royal, Stratford

A photographic exhibition of London theatres after dark – including local venues in Wanstead, Woodford, Ilford and Stratford – opens this month. Here, photographer Geoff Wilkinson explains his interest in an aspect of London's architecture that seems to be unchanging.

London is constantly evolving. People and buildings, all moving and changing. There are parts in the centre of the capital that I no longer recognise. In my school days, I biked around the city on quiet Sundays, fascinated by the old buildings and alleyways of the city. There was a real feeling of stepping back in time.

There seems now to be a rush to change the architecture and the visual appearance of London. It seems to me that change is slowly chipping away. I'm not necessarily talking about buildings of great note but rather everyday shops and offices that have stood for many years. I've nothing against modern buildings – I enjoy and marvel at Canary Wharf every time I'm there. I think it works extremely well where it is; I just don't like to see similar buildings intrude in the City and the West End.

The one thing that seems to be constant and unchanging, architecturally speaking, are London's theatres. Some dating back to the 18th century, some much more recent. They always seem very solid, a foundation almost for London's architecture. And they seem unlikely to change anytime soon. For me, they really come to life after dark, the spotlights and floodlights lighting up the buildings and posters, transforming them into something magical and, at the same time, mysterious. The vibrant colours leak into the darkness and mix with London's neon adverts and red buses. They make London a different and exciting world after dark.

The exhibition will be on show at the 84 Gallery on Nightingale Lane, Wanstead from 4 March until 9 April. An opening night event will take place from 6pm to 9pm. For more information, call 020 8530 1244 or visit geoffwilkinsonphotography.co.uk


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