At the completion of a multi-million-pound development this autumn, funded by Croydon Council as part of its £5.2bn regeneration project, Fairfield Halls will be one of the biggest arts centres in the UK, the largest in South London, and the largest multi-disciplinary arts and entertainment space in South London and the South East.
The first season will run from September 2019 to March 2020, and include an eclectic mix of theatre, music, comedy and family entertainment in the 809-seat Ashcroft Playhouse, the world-class 1,802-seat Phoenix Concert Hall, and in spaces across the building, including the Arnhem Foyer – an aspirational community hub with a free programme of events and exhibitions, and new spaces including The Recreational (750-capacity standing live music venue), the Savvy Studio, the Talawa Studio and John Whitgift Community Cube.
With a long and distinguished history, Fairfield Halls will be at the heart of Croydon’s new cultural quarter, with Talawa, the UK’s primary Black led touring theatre company, and the award-winning and inclusive Savvy Theatre Company, both becoming companies in residence in the venue.
The venue will formally open on Monday 16 September 2019 with the CODA community production of The Producers musical in the Ashcroft Theatre on Tuesday 17 September. The gala opening concert with resident orchestra London Mozart Players takes place in the Phoenix Concert Hall on Wednesday 18 September. And An Audience with Janet Street Porter on Friday 20 September is the first in a series of free lunchtime talks in the Arnhem Foyer hosted by Iain Dale with guests including Max Hastings, Jenni Murray, and John Humphreys. These free community events will be part funded by the Sky Lounge, an exclusive priority lounge for theatre goers and a private business hub by the day.
Highlights of the theatre programme include:
Cinderella – TV and Strictly star Ore Oduba makes his panto debut alongside comedian Tim Vine and CBeebies favourite Cat Sandion – in the Phoenix Concert Hall
Angela’s Ashes – The Musical – the only UK date of the second Irish tour of this award-winning production
Once the Musical – launching its UK tour with a five-week season over Christmas 2019
Buddy The Musical – coming to Croydon as part of its 30th anniversary tour
Friendsical – the parody musical coming to Croydon as part of its first UK tour
The Night Watch – a new adaptation of Sarah Waters’ wartime novel
The Lady Vanishes – The Classic Thriller Company presents a new production based on the Hitchcock film
Comedy highlights in the Phoenix Concert Hall include: An Evening with Lenny Henry, Alexander Armstrong: All Mouth and Some Trousers, Rob Beckett: Wallop, Russell Kane: The Fast and the Curious, Sandi Toksvig Live! National Trevor, Rhod Gilbert: The Book of John, An Evening Shared with Jasper Carrott and Alistair McGowan, Jimmy Carr: Terribly Funny, and Simon Cowell’s Britain’s Got Talent golden buzzer act – Kojo Anim: The Taxi Tour.
Family entertainment highlights include: Dear Zoo, Peppa Pig’s Best Day Ever, Justin Live and Tabby McTat.
Music events include Bravery to the Bell charity concert, Sixties Gold 2019 55th Anniversary Concert, The Music of Bond, Elvis Tribute Artist World Tour, Alexander O’Neal, Ruby Turner and George Hinchcliffe’s Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.
Dance highlights include Anton & Erin – Dance Those Magical Feet, Agudo Dance Company: Silk Road, and Dance Umbrella’s Fairfield Takeover – bringing a mix of international dance with homegrown talent spilling out across Fairfield Halls spaces.
Highlights in new space The Recreational (the 750-capacity space being used for live gigs, conferences and private hire events) include: Croydon-based Soul singer Omar, Republica, Janet Kay – Silly Games 40th Anniversary and Croydon Rocks 2019.
The London Mozart Players (LMP) – the UK’s longest established chamber orchestra will return to Fairfield Halls for a celebratory gala opening concert on 18 September that marks their 70th birthday and their 30th year as Croydon’s resident orchestra. They will perform works by Prokofiev, Mozart and Beethoven, alongside an exciting new commission from young composer Alex Woolf, BBC Young Composer of the Year 2012, who was inspired to take up composition aged 11 after encountering an LMP outreach project in 2006. Other classical music season highlights include performances from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, The English Chamber Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, as well as the London Mozart Players performing the score of Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman live to the film.
Savvy Theatre Company will be a company in residence, delivering weekly classes and performances from Fairfield Halls. Savvy, which has been creating unique and accessible theatre experiences in Croydon and the surrounding area for more than ten years, will also support the venue’s operator, BH Live, in promoting access for all and its community arts programme.
Talawa – the UK’s primary Black led touring theatre company, has taken up residence in a 200-seat studio and offices at Fairfield Halls. This will be the first time since 1995 that their headquarters will feature an on-site performance space. Fairfield Halls provides a home for Black theatre artists, enabling them to make outstanding work which will truly diversify and shape the cultural life of the whole country. The new residency will also create opportunities to train young Black artists in technical and creative theatre disciplines, suited to Croydon’s status as the London borough with the largest youth population, and working in partnership with organisations in the borough and nationally.
There are many ways we will award customers with the best seats at the best price – with our Fairfield Membership where you save money on tickets and drinks, plus exclusive invitations to events throughout the year; the Fairfield Season Saver where customers book 3 shows and save 15% on selected shows; and finally the Fairfield Fifteen option which offers early bookers band A & B seats for just £15.
Venue and Artistic Director for Fairfield Halls, Neil Chandler said, “BH Live is delighted to be custodians of this iconic venue. Working with our Croydon team, the local community and artistes we are so excited about giving visitors the best possible experience in South London’s largest arts centre. Built in 1962, and affectionately referred to as the younger sister to the Royal Festival Hall, our Phoenix Concert Hall was designed by renowned acoustician, Hope Bagenal OBE. This wonderful space has been refurbished to its former glory whilst maintaining its famous acoustic integrity. We forward to welcoming visitors through the doors, whether it’s for an event, a concert, a cup of coffee whilst catching up with friends or just for a good look round to see what’s new.”
Councillor Oliver Lewis, Croydon Council cabinet member for Culture, Leisure, and Sport said, “This is a really exciting time for our community.
“Through our investment in the Fairfield Halls, we’re creating a world-class venue that will offer our community a wealth of opportunities to participate in and experience the arts, and most importantly, that everyone in Croydon can enjoy and be proud of, for many generations to come.
“I’m sure many like me, can’t wait for the doors to open.”
Fairfield Halls, Park Lane, Croydon. CR9 1DG Phone: 0203 292 0002
Facebook – @fairfieldcroydon
Twitter – @fairfieldhalls
Instagram – @croydonfairfield