West End starts here

f508fe58-ca34-462c-a6d1-13c31a3d9beeThe Secret Garden, performed as part of Wanstead Fringe 2018. © Mark Turner

As the newly formed Wanstead Theatre Co prepare to perform their inaugural show this month, founder and professional actor Fiona Gordon talks about her plans to bring the West End to Wanstead

I think we are very proud of the fact that we rarely have to venture outside of Wanstead to find something we need. Two notable exceptions, however, are when you need a swim or when you need a night out at the theatre.

But even these two pastimes are about to be catered for. The long-awaited swimming pool is under construction and we have just launched Wanstead’s very own professional theatre company.

Born out of the pandemic, in response to all the theatres being closed, all theatre actors being out of work and most activities taking place on our doorsteps, we spent a lot of last year exploring the reality of starting Wanstead Theatre Co.

We are a team of local actors and arts professionals passionate about bringing the quality of the West End to Wanstead. Having tested the waters at the Wanstead Fringe for the last few years with successful productions, including The Secret Garden, The Railway Children and We Must Throw The Cows Down The Ravine, we know local residents love and deserve to see quality theatre! And we are hoping in the future you will let us know what kind of plays you would like to see us perform.

But what of our first official show as Wanstead Theatre Co? Well, after the last two years, we think you would agree, our community just needs to laugh! So, what better than a comedy by Sue Townsend of Adrian Mole fame?

Bazaar & Rummage is a play about a self-help group of agoraphobics who put on a jumble sale, and it couldn’t be more timely. After all, aren’t we all nervously emerging out into the world at the moment?

And it’s not just a play, it’s a proper night out! There will be comedy, 80s tunes, a bar and an actual jumble sale in the interval. The ticket even includes chicken in a basket and a glass of fizz.

It is only because of the support of our wonderful community that we are able to do this. Our Lady of Lourdes have donated their church hall so we can make the production site-specific. Our official sponsor is Petty Son & Prestwich and we are being supported by the Wanstead Fringe.

The play is set and was written in 1982, and was first performed at the Royal Court. So, this will be the 40th-anniversary professional revival in our very own Wanstead.

Sadly, the late Sue Townsend is not around to see it, but her estate has not only granted us the rights, they are so delighted with what we are trying to achieve for our community that they have given us them for free!

Wanstead Theatre Co will perform Bazaar & Rummage at Our Lady of Lourdes church hall from 21 to 30 April. For more information and to book tickets, visit wansteadtheatreco.com