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Celebrating Three Years of The Bridge House Theatre

Three years ago Luke Adamson and Joseph Lindoe took over the theatre above the Bridge House pub in leafy Penge southeast London. The previous incumbents had taken with them their lighting rig, lights, sound equipment and half the chairs so all Luke and Joseph had to their name was a big black empty space with half the number of chairs they needed, to make into a theatre. Now as their third anniversary comes around, they have a superb, Offie award-winning space that’s warm, welcoming and vibrant. They are no longer a two-man band as they’re ably supported by Programming Assistant Laura White and Chief Executive Dusty who’s a Roumanian rescue dog of dubious pedigree but runs the company with an iron paw.

TBHT Team at OFFIES Awards 2024
TBHT Team at OFFIES Awards 2024

In the past three years, they’ve put on an amazing programme of diverse shows that cover the spectrum of comedies, straight (and sometimes not so straight) plays, musicals and their own take on the end-of-the-year panto. They also put on drag bingo, charity events – in fact, whatever works in a tiny space that holds just 50 people but they do now have enough comfortable seats for everyone!

The Bridge House team must be one of the hardest working companies in the off-West End theatre scene as they not only write a lot of the work seen at the theatre but they act in them, do front of house, design the lighting and sound, create the video and probably sweep the floor after the show! As well as being a producing house, they’re also a receiving one putting on other people’s work. They adhere to Equity rules (not something all small theatres do), have a unique pricing structure for incoming companies and will give technical advice and help to them – they’ll even design the poster and flyers too – is there nothing these people won’t/can’t do?

As well as putting on some superb work, they also engage with the local community as much as possible going out to the people as well as well as welcoming them in and hosting events for local charities and are very much involved in the Penge Festival which is held in June.

This year they have a full diary of both in-house and other companies’ work such as Nigün Yusuf’s debut play “Nine Moons”, “Marble Cake” a play about a relationship between a mixed-race brother and sister, “Chet Baker: Let’s Get Lost”, Tim Connery’s play about the much-troubled trumpeter and “The House We Inherit” Sarah Majland’s piece about three siblings who inherit their parent’s house in small-town America. This is just a small sample of the work they’re putting on in the next few months and on top of that, they’re part of the first-ever festival of theatre in southeast London, SE Fest, with fellow above-the-pub theatre, The Jack Studio in nearby Crofton Park (some say Brockley) which will be happening in September.

I have an American friend who once saw a 176 bus with Penge on the front and asked me where Penge was as it sounded funny to her ears and I must admit it is one of those words that does make you smile. As the team at The Bridge House will tell you, Penge is just 20 minutes from Victoria by train and the station is just behind the pub so you don’t even have to walk too far. If you’re a lover of all that is good in theatre, I suggest – no insist – that you get yourself down to Penge and go and see some of the splendid work Luke, Joseph, Laura and Dusty are putting on in a tiny but welcoming space above an excellent convivial pub in a town that sounds a little funny; I promise you won’t be disappointed.


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