A rare bit of good news for Woolwich – plans to convert the old cinema/nightclub building on Wellington Street into an arts centre got planning permission from Greenwich Council last night.
The building’s been empty for a few years following the closure of the N’Tyce club there, which succeeded infamous 80s/90s venue Flamingos (or, as we called it, Flaming Joe’s).
The Woolwich Grand Theatre scheme involves using it as a cinema and theatre, with a weekly arts market each Saturday. Founder and director Adrian Green is hoping to open up with a cafeteria first – although may need to sort out a further licence before he can do this.
I’ve been inside and while many of the old fittings were ripped out during its nightclub days, the plan is to restore the building, which was as an ABC cinema until the 1980s, to its 1950s glory. The old projector’s still there, but for now there’ll be small screenings of classic films, like you’ll find at film clubs in Deptford and Brockley.
Woolwich has lacked a performance venue since the 1970s and 1980s heyday of the Tramshed, and its last cinema – the Coronet – closed in the 1990s. There’s already a number of people with their eyes on the stage.
If Woolwich is ever to get back on its feet, it needs an independent focus for the community, and it looks like it’s going to get that. I’m looking forward to following the progress Adrian makes with the project.