The Battersea Arts Centre ("BAC") is a Grade II* listed building near Clapham Junction railway station in Battersea, in the London Borough of Wandsworth that operates as a performance space specialising in theatre productions. It was formerly Battersea Town Hall. In March 2015, while a major programme of renovation works were underway, the Grand Hall was severely damaged by fire. Approximately 70% of the theatre, including the 200-capacity Council Chamber, the Scratch Bar and the Members Library, was saved from the fire and remains open.
The building, designed in 1891 by E. W. Mountford, opened in 1893 as Battersea Town Hall, the administrative headquarters of the Borough of Battersea, shortly after the borough was transferred from the county of Surrey to the newly formed County of London. It is built from Suffolk red brick and Bath stone. Bertrand Russell's essay Why I Am Not a Christian was originally given as a talk in the hall, on 6 March 1927, under the auspices of the South London Branch of the National Secular Society. The building was given Grade II* listed protected status in February 1970.
In 1901 a large pipe organ was installed in the Grand Hall by Norman & Beard. This was an unusual instrument designed by Robert Hope-Jones, a pioneering organ builder who invented many aspects of the modern pipe organ. His ideas went on to form the basis of the Wurlitzer theatre organ in the 1920s and 30s. It was said to be the largest Hope-Jones organ to survive, and was partially restored in 2008–2009. In the 2015 fire, although much of the organ was destroyed, including the console, bellows, wiring and architectural cases, the soundboards and much of the pipework survived as they were off site undergoing restoration. A specification of the organ can be found on the National Pipe Organ Register.
Every February since 1991, the BAC has hosted the three-day-long Battersea Beer Festival. On 13 March 2015, during a major renovation programme, a fire broke out in the roof, and engulfed the building, causing severe structural damage, including the collapse of the tower. The Grand Hall and Lower Hall were destroyed. No injuries were reported.
The fire was tackled by about 80 London Fire Brigade firefighters and 12 fire engines. Firefighters were able to save a large part of the building including several of the smaller theatre spaces. Two shows went ahead as planned one day after the fire, and BAC has maintained much of its artistic programme, despite losing the ability to hire the larger venues (a significant source of income).
Jubb launched a fundraising campaign to help the centre soon afterwards., and in May announced that during the rebuilding of the Grand Hall, BAC would also create a large off-site theatre from mid-2016 to end of 2017 "for the presentation of visionary and exciting new theatre while we rebuild the Grand Hall".
Snow White and Rose Red - a magnificent quest for justice, love and friendship. This festive season Battersea Arts Centre has teamed up with acclaimed theatre company RashDash for the perfect Christmas treat for the whole family. Snow White likes to tell stories and paint. Rose Red likes to race with the deer and the wolves. When a friendly bear knocks on their door, the mischievous sisters have no idea it's the beginning of a brave and magical adventure. Experience the fun with live music, songs and plenty of festive touches - based on the original fairy-tale by the Brothers Grimm. Until 30th December.
They are currently undergoing building works, which will affect access to some of their spaces. These works will also improve access across the building for the future. • There is STEP-FREE access to Scratch Bar, The Bee's Knees and ground floor public spaces. • There are accessible toilet facilities across the building. • Our lift provides access to all floors. If you are coming to see a show, please check the show page in the What’s On Section or call the Box Office on 020 7223 2223 to find out if the show is fully accessible.They offer concession tickets for people with disabilities and, if you require the assistance of a friend or helper to attend, they can make a free ticket available for your companion. Please call the Box Office on 020 7223 2223 to book. Their Box Office has a portable induction loop which can be used in any space – please let the staff know if you would like to use this. They have a permanent induction loop in the Council Chamber performance space.
For some shows on for 3 weeks or more we will run a BSL performance. They welcome working dogs and their Café Bar can provide water bowls, if required.
UPCOMING ACCESSIBLE SHOWS
Not I : 28 Feb - 17 Mar | Accompanied by a BSL interpreter/performer, each performance is relaxed, which means if you tic, shout or move about, you're more than welcome. Sponge : Sundays 10:30am | Baby-only performances. All performances are relaxed, with a chill-out space available. Snow White & Rose Red : 1 Dec, 7 Dec, 17 Dec & 28 Dec | Relaxed performances. 1 Dec, 10 Dec | BSL Interpreted Performances. The Shape Of The Pain : 20 Feb - 10 Mar | All performances are captioned and audio described. Beowulf : 22 - 24 Mar | BSL Interpreted Performances.
If you feel you might need help to get around, have any ideas about what they could do better or just want to know more about their access facilities, please contact them.
Location : Battersea Arts Centre, Lavender Hill, London SW11 5TN
Transport: Clapham Junction (National Rail, London Overground) then 8 - 10 minutes. London Buses routes 345, 77, 87 and 156, N77 and N345 stop outside.
Access Line : 020 7223 2223
Tel: 020 7223 2223