London's County Hall, the former home of both the Greater London Council and the Saatchi Gallery, is to become a three-theatre entertainment complex called the Greater London Theatre.
The building's original debating chamber - having witnessed well-publicized clashes between Livingstone and Thatcher in the 80s - will be the main theatrical space. Creative company Weird & Wonderful - which already runs Movieum, an exhibition of film props, in the building - is also in talks to build a black-box studio; outdoor productions will be staged on County Hall's riverside terrace. With the creation of the Greater London Theatre, the plan is to turn the building into a cultural centre to rival other off-West End venues such as the Battersea Arts Centre in south London.
According to Marcus Campbell Sinclair, the project's joint artistic director, the new venue will be multi-disciplinary. "It will work brilliantly as a bridge between fringe and West End theatre," he said. "We are creating in-house productions, and are also in talks with external companies who wish to come in and utilize the space. It will be a mixture of new writing, classical works and other performance theatre."