Phoenix theatre curtain set to take its bow
Major refurbishment at Charing Cross Road arts club
27 September, 2019 — By Briony Pickford
THE Phoenix Arts Club is set to unveil a major refurbishment including an £11,000 full-size theatre curtain.
The Charing Cross Road venue prides itself on championing fresh talent and providing an affordable stage for burgeoning young artists.
The curtain – the only one of its kind in an Off-West End venue – will provide a dramatic moment for performers taking their encore bows.
It will also be lined with soundproof material so the venue can host two performances at the same time.
Peter Dunbar, managing director of club, said: “This will help us run more shows. The wall before wasn’t soundproofed before but now we can put on full-size cabaret shows and not worry about the volume.”
There are currently 600 acts a year at the Phoenix which has been a key player in the Soho arts community for more than 30 years.
It has proved to be a stepping stone for many artists, including comedy act Sofie Hagen who started out on Phoenix stage before being awarded the Best Newcomer Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015.
The theatre’s bar manager, Matt Bateman, used to take part in their weekly musical theatre singalongs. “Now he has just finished two years at Phantom of the Opera and is off to Germany for a run of Sweeney Todd,” said Mr Dunbar. “We unite very successful performers with up-and-coming performers – our Thursday night musical theatre open mic has been going for seven years and has seen a lot of talent.”
With past performers including Killian Donnelly, James McAvoy and Ian McKellen, the club prides itself on sustaining a space where new and old talent can meet.
Over the past year, the club has undergone refurbishment work including removal of walls, a new bar and new lighting and sound equipment. They are still fundraising in order to finish refurbishing the toilets, accessibility and the daytime Creative Hub where they open the theatre as a workspace offering free tea, coffee and hi-speed wi-fi.
There are opportunities to donate to the The Phoenix Arts Club Crowdfunder campaign. Rewards are on offer, but only until October 1.
Donating £25 provides you with an invitation to the grand reopening on October 8, which will feature live cabaret, drinks, West End celebrities and surprises. If you donate more, you could have your name engraved on a brass plaque on the pillar right next to the curtain.