£10m rebuild for Holloway home of youth theatre gets go ahead

Collage of the rear courtyard

Collage of the rear courtyard - Credit: Archant

An ambitious bid to keep James Bond star Daniel Craig’s former acting school in Holloway has moved a step closer.

The £10million plan to replace the rundown home of the National Youth Theatre (NYT) – which is also where Daniel Day-Lewis and Dame Helen Mirren first walked the boards – was given the nod by an Islington Council planning committee on Thursday.

The theatre has been in Holloway Road since 1987, but had been looking at options for a new home due to the dilapidated state of the current premises.

Now, thanks to local businessman Tom Shutes – whose bold plan includes turning the surrounding 12,900 sq ft plot into a cultural quarter, with 80 flats and courtyards for cafés and markets– the theatre’s place in the borough looks secure.

Mr Shutes said he was “delighted” and the plan was “genuinely exciting”.

He added: “We are really pleased that so many local people expressed their support for the plans, considering the scale and complexity of the site. In the coming years we really believe that this area of Islington will transform itself and the new ­facility for the NYT has the ­opportunity to be at the centre of this exiting redevelopment for years to come.

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“We now look forward to working with the National Youth Theatre to restore the ­locally listed buildings and ­redevelop the adjoining factory site with new performance space, high quality new homes, shops and cafes, to create a new cultural hub for Holloway. We hope to start work on the site later this year.”

Joe Duggan, from the NYT, said: “We are really pleased with this decision and the future looks very bright now. We’re all excited. In the next month 1,000 young people will be coming through to audition.

“This new building will mean we can double our capacity – not just of the main school but also the free course we run for young people not in education, employment or training (Neets).

“Ten years ago former Doctor Who Matt Smith came through our doors and now he is back in Islington starring in American Psycho at the Almeida.

“Hopefully we will see more success stories like that.”

He added that it wasn’t yet clear whether the theatre would have to relocate while work was going on.

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