If you didn’t know that Romford had its own theatre, you are not alone. In Eastern Road, Brookside Theatre’s building is hidden away from the busy Romford Streets and has only been around since 2012, after it was decided that the recently refurbished Romford War Memorial hall should have one of its buildings converted into a theatre
The Romford War Memorial hall was originally built as a social club for senior citizens, but this once popular community hall and memorial fell into severe neglect with one of the buildings boarded up well over 20 years ago. In 2011 the social club was restored by a few local volunteers, headed by Romford-born playwright, Jai Sepple, and in 2012 it was determined that the main building of the newly refurbished Romford War Memorial Social Club, should be converted into Romford’s first Theatre, The Brookside Theatre.
The Theatre has over 100 seats and has quickly grown in popularity, and within a year it was already playing host to full-scale musicals, plays, tribute acts, concerts and even celebrity guest appearances. You may have heard that AvenueQ is coming to Romford, and this will be performed at the Brookside Theatre later this month (check out our events page). The building had simple chairs and does not have the fixed seating of The Queen’s Theatre, but this makes much more of an all-purpose building and means that the chairs can be arranged differently depending on the performance. The staging is not raised and I found that at the performance I went to go and see (Bouncers) this lead to a much more intimate piece
The theatre is completely self-funded project and is reliant on the generosity of local businesses, groups and volunteers. Anyone over the age of 16 is welcome to join the volunteers and any assistance is always welcome. One of the ways you can join in is by joining the Romford Operatic & Dramatic Society. In 2014 ROADS, a theatre group established in 1924, was re-launched and ROADS are due to put on their first performance in just under 50 years in July (1st – 5th) as they take on Marc Shaman’s ‘Hairspray’, in a performance that we’re certainly looking forward to. If you want to find out more information about ROADS, including how to join in, go to their website at www.romfordoperatic.com
Brookside theatre is only young but we have already seen a lot from them and with AvenueQ and Hairspray planned it looks like it’s only going to get better. We hope that we can help promote performances at the theatre and more people will hear about the theatre and get involve