New Arcola Theatre opens tonight

Harry Potter actor to star in world premiere at new Ashwin Street home

The curtain will come up on the new home of Dalston’s Arcola Theatre this evening (January 12) when doors open for the first performance in the old Colourworks factory.

Harry Potter star Toby Jones will help to launch the new playhouse in Ashwin Street, playing celebrated British artist Joseph Mallord William Turner in the world premiere of The Painter by Rebecca Lenkiewicz.

Jones, who provides the voice of Dobby in the Harry Potter films, is the latest in a long list of stars to support the opening.

Sculptor Antony Gormley and fashion designer Katharine Hamnett backed a fundraising appeal to raise �150,000 needed for the first stage of development.


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More than �42,000 has been donated to the theatre to date, with more than �100,000 still to find.

Gormley created an artwork for auction in December and Hamnett reworked her iconic 1980s Choose Life t-shirt design to read Choose Arcola.

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An army of volunteers has been working day and night to transform the dilapidated building, which was once used to manufacture colour blocks for artists such as Turner and Constable.

They have been moving furniture and equipment from the Arcola Street premises, where the theatre has been based for 10 years.

The conversion has been designed to be as environmentally friendly as possible.

“It’s all about recycling and reusing,” said executive director Dr Ben Todd.

“Not a single new door has been used and only two new toilets. We’re not plastering the walls but leaving the brickwork and almost no new metal has come in.

“It has been amazing, unpeeling all the layers.

“It’s an absolutely beautiful building.”

The Painter opens runs until February 12. Tickets are sold out for tonight and Friday but all other performances are available at the cost of �17 or �11 for concessions. The Ashwin Street box office opens today or book online at www.arcolatheatre.com.

You can also donate money to the Arcola Appeal on the website, at the box office or by phone or post.

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