The Coronet cinema, Notting Hill was once known as one of London’s finest theatres, and now the venue will return to its roots with The Print Room
Since 2010, The Print Room in Notting Hill has staged an innovative programme of theatre, dance and opera. And now it is moving to a new home, the size and scale of which matches its considerable ambitions. From this autumn, The Print Room will no longer be housed in the converted printing warehouse in Hereford Road, and will instead take up residence in The Coronet cinema. Eventually, the building will boast three separate theatre spaces, and The Print Room will also take control of the cinema’s programme.
Artistic director Anda Winters, who is overseeing this bold move, says that it will allow The Print Room to fulfil its huge potential.
‘Moving into The Coronet will let us carry on our mission as a multi-faceted arts venue with tons of potential to use even more space in fun and creative ways. People can expect the same eclectic mix of drama, dance, music and poetry, as well as world-class cinema and lots of other surprises in our glorious new space,’ she explains.
‘It is really an extension of what we’ve built over the past four years on Hereford Road. We loved our home there and we loved converting it from a derelict printing workshop to a vibrant, multi-space arts venue. Our landlord decided to develop luxury houses and flats on the site, though, so we were evicted. Such is life in London.’
The Print Room at The Coronet will open in time for the theatre’s new autumn season, with the smaller of its two screening rooms converted into an intimate 100-seat theatre. The large cinema will also be in operation with the restoration of the rest of the building, including the creation of the other impressive theatre spaces, taking place in stages.
The inaugural season will feature a modern adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Underground, a new South African play called Solomon and Marion, and, in time for the festive season, a theatrical retelling of the Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol.
In turning the Grade II-listed Coronet into an all-action arts venue, the old place is being taken back to its origins. It was initially built as a theatre in 1898. Sir John Gielgud is said to have seen his first Shakespeare play — As You Like It — back in 1912 there. Anda says that one of the biggest, and nicest, surprises, she had when The Print Room first opened was the way Notting Hill residents embraced the venue and she believes that local theatre and cinema lovers will be equally impressed with what she and her team will do with The Coronet.
‘Our neighbours are very excited that their neighbourhood gem will be in caring hands. Of course, everyone wants something a bit different so we will spend a lot of time with local organisations talking to them about the renovations. And, as always, we will stay very close to our patrons to be sure our programme is current and interesting, if occasionally challenging,’ she says.
Anda has lived with her family in the Royal Borough since 1993, living variously in Notting Hill, Chelsea and Holland Park (‘where else can you be right in the heart of one of the great cities on earth but still have trees, gardens and, from time to time, a parking space?’). She has been heavily involved in theatre and design since childhood, moving to New York at 22 to study design, then to work in fashion and theatre design, and was employed at the New York City Opera, The Roundabout Theatre and elsewhere.
In 1992 she moved to London and worked at venues including the Almeida, The Linbury Studio at ROH and Sadler’s Wells. Six years ago, she and her friend, acclaimed theatre director, Lucy Bailey decided to set up The Print Room as co-artistic directors. Bailey moved on in 2012, leaving Anda solely in charge. One of the biggest challenges she faces is keeping afloat in the tough financial climate. The venue does not have core funding from the Arts Council and relies on individual grants and the generosity of its supporters.
‘This is a very arty neighbourhood so it’s not surprising that we have such dedicated patrons, but we also have people who have never been to the theatre before or thought they could never enjoy modern dance. When those people come back again and again it is really gratifying. We are so honoured that, amongst many others, Gavin Turk, Lady Antonia Fraser and Howard Barker have been willing to help us build our programme by contributing directly to our productions,’ says Anda.
‘We are an arts charity that receives no regular public funding. The good thing is that we have a great group of key supporters, both corporate and individual. However we are always looking for new sources of funding for our work and we are hoping that the move to this prominent and well-loved Notting Hill building will attract new patrons, and encourage them to become part of our Print Room family.’
And whether you are a patron, a regular attendee or a first time audience member, all will be welcome at The Print Room’s historic new home.
For more information, visit the-print-room.org