Just after reaching its initial £10,000 target in a public fundraising campaign set up in response to the financial threat posed by the coronavirus crisis, Jermyn Street Theatre was severely flooded last night (Wednesday 8 April 2020).
A pipe burst in an abandoned basement room belonging to a nearby building, resulting in a flood five feet in depth throughout the theatre’s basement area, destroying or damaging much of its workshop, technical store, props and furniture store, dressing rooms, offices and archives.
The flood was discovered by Penny Horner, the theatre’s co-founder and Executive Director. The London Fire Brigade were quickly on the scene, swiftly followed by Thames Water. Working for 14 straight hours through the night, they pumped 56,000 gallons of water out of the building.
Artistic Director Tom Littler said:
“There were thankfully no injuries yesterday, and we offer huge thanks to the teams from the London Fire Brigade and Thames Water. We are now assessing the extent of the damage and our insurance cover. Anyone who knows our co-founders Penny Horner and Howard Jameson will know what a huge blow this is to them personally as well as to our theatre. Penny was, as always, a true theatre hero, working through the night without sleep. Please keep her and our theatre in your thoughts this Easter weekend.”
Other damage includes the props and costumes of Jermyn Street Theatre’s production of The Tempest, starring Michael Pennington, which had closed after six performances because of the pandemic. The theatre still plans to reopen with the production.
Jermyn Street Theatre is currently unrolling its Brave New World programme of work for social isolation, which includes daily Shakespeare sonnets, regular evening cabaret performances, and A Cup of JSTea, in which actors and freelancers offer a cup of tea on the phone with isolated audience members.
The theatre receives no statutory funding. Its crowdfunding campaign at has been left open for anyone wishing to donate.