Exciting news from St Bride Foundation.
On Monday 30 March, it was agreed that the theatre will close its doors and cancel all future shows. This decision has been made in order to reopen the Victorian baths and reestablish St Bride Foundation as one of the premier swimming locations in the City of London. Below is a personal letter from the charity.
Dear friends and followers,
The other week we posted a blog article about an art exhibition beneath the floorboards of the Bridewell Theatre. Traces of the Swimming Pool was a reminiscent look back at when the theatre space was a lively and popular venue for swimming.
Weeks have passed since the article was published. During this time, numerous theatre companies have arrived with a series of diverse shows; members of the public have sat in our seats, applauding the conveyor belt of talent before them. Meanwhile, the empty swimming pool has been left desolate. Indeed this is no new predicament, as the pool has been this way for years. Yet the recent article made everyone question what would actually be more enjoyable: a theatre or a swimming pool?
Subtle grumblings around the office space, attempting to tackle the difficult question, soon escalated to rather intense debates in Governor meetings. Conclusions drawn showed that nearly everyone in the organisation leaned towards the aquatic option in some way or another.
And so, it was agreed on Monday 30 March that the theatre will close in April for the foreseeable future. All theatre companies who have made bookings will be refunded and efforts will go to help these organisations relocate to other suitable spaces. This decision has been made so that the Foundation can once again be used as a venue for swimming and its associated sports.
Over the course of its life, the Bridewell Theatre has hosted an array of shows from both amateur and professional companies. Many of the people within these groups have become friends of the Foundation along the way. It therefore seems fitting that the transition between theatre to swimming pool is treated as a celebration, rather than a commemoration. To ensure this, St Bride Foundation will be presenting one final show to signal the start of a new chapter. This show will be Noah’s Ark.
Noah’s Ark will be a fully interactive, promenade theatre experience. The biblical tale was chosen as it reflects the magnitude of our new adventure. Conveniently, it also allows us to fill the swimming pool with water and chlorine, while still getting money from the general public.
This special one-off show will entail the installation of a specially designed ark at the front of the theatre. Ticket holders will also be assigned an animal, allowing them to star in the show, as well as spectate. Noah, who will be played by theatre manager, Mikey Palmer, will welcome you all onto the ark while protecting you from the gallons of water that will be submerging the room. Since 1994, people within the theatre have been a part of our story and now we are doing our best to continue this.
Once the swimming pool is back open, we will be announcing a full programme of courses and activities, including ‘wetterpress printing’ and the formation of our own synchronised swimming team (formed from a group of former Fleet Street compositors).
We understand that this new chapter may be met with some controversy. However, it is something that is strategically necessary in order to restore the true heritage of the charity. We hope you can join us in this vision.
St Bride Foundation
Tickets for Noah’s Ark will be released next week. Upon booking a ticket, guests will be sent a confirmation email, which will include details of your assigned animal. This will need to be brought along to the performance, along with any swimming badges. Towels will be provided.