January Theatre of the Month > Emporium Theatre
In the spring of 2012 James Weisz opened the doors of Emporium Theatre with the intention of bringing professional rep theatre to Brighton. Emporium Theatre’s mission has remained to create an industry hub in the city; to forge creative alliances and relationships, and to celebrate the arts locally and nationally. Since opening, the venue has played host to year-round in-house productions, visiting companies, drama, musicals, contemporary dance and festivals.
Last year, the theatre was awarded Best Venue at the Brighton Fringe Awards and in 2013, just one year after opening, was awarded Best Place to Visit and was recognised in the New Kids on the Block category in the Brighton & Hove Business Awards. Always striving to reach new audiences, at the end of last year, Emporium Theatre launched its very first in-house film strand and was delighted to be the recipient of the British Film Institute’s Neighbourhood Cinema Fund, which granted the venue £4K worth of new cinema equipment, to be installed later this month.
The theatre lives in a re-purposed ex-Methodist church in the heart of the recently re-generated London Road area in Brighton. The theatre itself seats ninety and is based in the old Sunday school, while a bright and airy café-bar is housed in the body of the church. The building retains many of its original features: a high, gabled ceiling with exposed beams, original wooden wainscoting, a parquet floor and stained glass windows. Very few changes have been made to the structure of the building or to its layers of decoration built up over the years, thereby preserving its charm, integrity and general feeling of space, light and calm.
January sees the venue reach the end of a sell-out run of its annual Christmas show - this year Aladdin. The run boasted a total of 44 shows, including a charity (slightly saucier!) ‘grown-ups only’ performance, the profit of which all went to local charity, The Clock Tower Sanctuary, who provide support for young homeless people in Brighton & Hove.
Fans of new writing will be pleased to hear that in February of this year, Emporium Theatre will be hosting the world premiere of award-winning writer Simon David Eden’s new play The Albatross 3rd & Main. Inspired by the author’s travels in the USA, the play is a gritty contemporary psychosocial black comedy, which unfolds over a single day, in a sleepy, blue-collar backwater of Massachusetts, New England. A punchy satire that takes a big swing at cultural imperialism as it explores the dark flip side of Federal law and wildlife conservation. This world premiere production marks the Brighton born playwright’s debut as director. The Albatross 3rd & Main will play at Emporium Theatre from the 2 - 20th of February.
Photo credit: David Myers