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Key role for arts in Bromley regeneration

Tue 20th September 2011, 1:33 pm

The arts can be a catalyst for Bromley’s economic revival, according to Norman Bragg, principal director of RHWL Architects, which is working with the council and other key stakeholders on regeneration plans for the Churchill Theatre site.

“There is a connection between shopping centres and the arts and we know shopping centres are the cathedrals of the future where  people spend a lot of their social life.  Arts tend to be an evening activity but put the two together then you get extended spend,” Mr Bragg told a packed Invest Bromley conference.

He told the conference that he felt the Churchill Theatre had a promising future due to its first-rate location,  but its current capacity meant it couldn’t pull in the big shows needed to really thrive, and said three options were being considered for its future – a facelift, a reconfiguration for extra capacity, and a complete replacement. The ideas would be put out to consultation.

“Churchill Theatre is very well located because it is right in the middle of the shopping centre and has good visibility. Our future plans are to look at Churchill Theatre and look what we can do to raise the bar. At the moment it’s there – it’s a little tired, costly to keep running and not really big enough for future or next generations – it needs to get into next league to buy better shows.

“So looking at options for its future, we are considering a facelift, getting more seats in there and the last option which is to flatten it and start again. All schemes will be looked at in connection with retail to create outside performance areas as well, because we are trying to create a proper central space. The atmosphere we can create from that is where we want to be for the future.”

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