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Fry boost for theatre bid

Actor, comedian and writer offers support to playhouse scheme which is part of a multimillion-pound overhaul in ‘the most creative square mile in the world’

25 June, 2019 — By Tom Foot

Stephen Fry: ‘In my professional opinion it has every potential to be a powerfully effective theatrical space and unquestionably an indispensable cultural community hub’

STEPHEN Fry has backed Soho’s newest theatre in the “strongest terms” arguing the playhouse will become an “indispensable cultural community hub”.

The legendary actor, comedian and writer wrote in full support of Soho Estates’ Boulevard Theatre licensing application to Westminster Council.

The theatre – part of a multi-million pound overhaul of Walker’s Court in Soho, by Paul Raymond’s grand-daughter Fawn James – applied for an enter­tainment and alcohol licence until 1am, six days a week, and 11pm on Sundays.

An illustration of how Walker’s Court and the new theatre could look. Image: Soda-studio

A message of support from the “chairman of the campaign group Save Soho and the chairman of the Criterion Theatre Trust”, which is Stephen Fry, said: “I hope my avowed approval of this theatre’s manifest virtues will add what little force it can to urge you will take my plea to heart. In my professional opinion it has every potential to be a powerfully effective theatrical space and unquestionably an indispensable cultural community hub.

“Please grant the licence terms they have asked for. Small theatres and young actors, comedians, writer and producers need all the help they can get.

“The Boulevard is everything and more that they and Soho need. Bless them and bless you, I hope!”

Fawn James

Mr Fry said that new performers at the venue could follow in the footsteps of Soho greats like “Oscar Wilde, Thomas de Quincey, Josiah Wedgwood, Karl Marx, Francis Bacon, the young Mozart and… Phoebe Waller-Bridge”, among others.

Mr Fry said: “Nowhere else in London are the under-represented better represented, the avant garde less guarded, or the voiceless given such platforms to speak. Yet in the most creative square mile in the world there is always space, both geographically and culturally, for further talent to thrive and additional voices to be heard.”

The Boulevard has announced its first show will be Ghost Quartet, running from October 31 until January 4.

It tells four stories of people drinking and singing songs about love, loss and spirits – of the alcoholic and mystical kind. There will also be a programme of late-night and Sunday performances covering cabaret, jazz, comedy, classical music and poetry.

The council said the application was granted at the licensing sub-committee meeting last Thursday.

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