Soho Theatre Walthamstow_pic

Soho Theatre Walthamstow removed from Theatres Trust’s Theatres at Risk Register

Published: 7 February 2023
Filed under: Culture

Above: Watch Michael Rush, Project Director at Waltham Forest Council, and Alessandro Babalola, Co-Chair of Soho Theatre Walthamstow, chat about what it means to be removed from the Risk Register, and how we’re bringing the building back to life. Part of the Theatres Trust's 2023 Launch event.

Soho Theatre Walthamstow, formerly the EMD and Granada cinema, has been removed from the Theatres Trust’s 'Theatres at Risk Register'.

Theatres Trust campaigns to protect the UK’s theatres and publishes an annual Theatres at Risk Register. The register highlights theatres across the UK under threat of closure, redevelopment or severe decay, but which have potential to be revived.

Soho Theatre Walthamstow is one of three theatres removed from Theatres Trust’s register. The decision to remove is reached when the buildings are no longer considered at risk, often due to advocacy, planning and viability advice from Theatres Trust, as well as the vital support of local authorities, theatre operators and community groups.

The EMD/Granada site, a Grade II*-listed ciné-variety theatre in the heart of Walthamstow, had been empty and deteriorating for two decades until it was bought by Waltham Forest Council in 2019, with Soho Theatre Company brought on board as the operator. Having undergone a major refurbishment programme, it will reopen later this year as Soho Theatre Walthamstow, an exciting new London venue offering a mix of comedy, theatre, music and community activities.

Councillor Grace Williams, Leader of Waltham Forest Council, said:

Over nearly a hundred years this building has seen so much history, from the cine-variety days of the 1930s to the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Dusty Springfield, Johnny Cash, James Brown and so many of the biggest names in the '50s, '60s and '70s. 

Twenty years ago it became derelict, and after a ten-year grassroots campaign by passionate locals and Soho Theatre resulted in the Council buying the building and committing to restoring it. The Theatres Trust decision to take the building off their Theatres at Risk Register is a huge moment: it shows we’re one step closer to opening the doors as Soho Theatre Walthamstow and continuing the story of the building.