‘Space’ created for Dickens’ ghost of a story on Isle of Dogs with lockdown theatre ready to reopen

The Space in Millwall, Isle of Dogs... gets a breather at last and ready to reopen after lockdown. Picture: Ben Broomfield

The Space in Millwall, Isle of Dogs... gets a breather at last and ready to reopen after lockdown. Picture: Ben Broomfield - Credit: Ben Broomfield

Three shows are ready for the reopening of The Space theatre in a converted church on the Isle of Dogs after months of lockdown forced its closure.

Artistic director Adam Hemming... "We've strived to keep audiences engaged during toughest of times." Picture: Ben Broomfield

Artistic director Adam Hemming... "We've strived to keep audiences engaged during toughest of times." Picture: Ben Broomfield - Credit: Ben Broomfield

The playhouse in West Ferry Road that has kept going on a wing and a prayer through the Covid crisis is ready to livestream productions to bring theatre back to the public after two bouts of self-isolation.

They include a Yuletide seasonal offering of a Dickens ghost story while also hoping to “save Santa” in such a difficult year.

“We’ve strived to keep our audiences engaged during the toughest of times,” artistic director Adam Hemming said. “These three pieces will inspire in different ways, while we’re also getting ready to programme our spring season to bringing more work to audiences in the New Year.”

Sir Ian McKellen... kept The Space going during lockdown with his touch of magic. Picture: Ben Broomfield

Sir Ian McKellen... kept The Space going during lockdown with his touch of magic. Picture: Ben Broomfield - Credit: Ben Broomfield

The Space managed to keep going during lockdown with a £15,000 crowdfunding campaign in September led by the wizard of the big screen Sir Ian McKellen, its patron, known more in another role as Wizard Gandolf in The Hobbit. He led the publicity drive with a touch of magic that kept the struggling theatre company going with pledges pouring in to support playwrights, actors, theatre companies and an online workshop.

Its first show after lockdown is Myles and Me, a one-woman play about living with multiple sclerosis written for disabled actress Ruth Curtis by one of the theatre’s sponsored playwrights, Lekha Desai Morrison. It looks at how to deal with a lifelong incurable medical condition, but especially how to live with it rather than “suffer” it.


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It wouldn’t be Christmas on the Isle of Dogs without Dickens, so The Signalman ghost story of a railwayman gets the green signal, adapted from his classic short novel of suspense. It is staged by Paragon theatre company after last year’s good “track record” run at the Old Red Lion theatre pub at The Angel.

The Space is also marking its 25th year by reviving past in-house productions, starting with its first Yuletide production from 2009 of The Saving of Santa by Lobelia Golightly, re-worked as an online interactive family adventure this time round. Something is wrong with Santa, so it goes, and it’s up to the chief elf’n’safety officer and the young audience to save Christmas.

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