Willows could see CODA weeping as they leave the Cryer

The future of another local theatre is under threat, with Sutton Council considering cuts which could see the Charles Cryer Studio Theatre in Carshalton close, making the  Croydon Operatic and Dramatic Association’s next production, The Wind In The Willows, their last to be staged at the popular venue.

Carshalton's Charles Cryer Studio Theatre, under threat from Sutton council cuts

Carshalton’s Charles Cryer Studio Theatre, under threat from Sutton council cuts

Founded more than 70 years ago, CODA is Croydon’s leading community theatre company, performing both musicals and plays, to a highly professional standard. CODA began staging their regular productions at the Cryer when there was no longer any suitable performance of rehearsal spaces in Croydon, or they were priced out of some of the bigger venues in central Croydon.

Michael Hall, the producer of The Wind In The Willows, which has a four-day run at the end of next month, told Inside Croydon, “We are very sorry that the future of the Charles Cryer appears to be uncertain.

“It is not only a lovely venue, but it is also the only affordable, well-equipped small venue of its type in the area, and we have had terrific experiences there over the last few years with the shows we have put on there – Side by Side by Sondheim, The Railway Children, Private Peaceful and now The Wind In The Willows.

“Many plans are in formulation for a community group to take over the running of the Cryer, and we would strongly support them in all the ways we can,” Hall said. 

“We would certainly want to use the theatre again in the future, and it is likely that we would return there.  However, in the meantime we are formulating our plans for 2015, which will include performing at more venues in Croydon.”

CODA is negotiating with venues for its 2015 productions, although after the successful staging of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Wandle Park, a return there seems likely.

Poop! Poop! Sarah plays Mr Toad in CODA's production of The Wind In The Willows next month

Poop! Poop! Sarah Block plays Mr Toad in CODA’s production of The Wind In The Willows next month

For their latest production in the schools’ autumn half-term week, CODA are using the Alan Bennett adaptation of the Kenneth Grahame classic which was such a success when first performed at the National.

The story has been a favourite of generations of children, and their parents: Mr Toad’s craze for caravanning and infatuation with motoring get him into a heap of trouble – not to mention imprisoned and imperilled. But when Toad Hall is under threat from the weasels, only Mr Toad’s ingenuity, and the loyalty of his friends Badger, Mole and Rat, can save the day…

CODA’s The Wind in the Willows stars Sarah Block as Toad, Michael Greenwood as Mole, Tony Bannister as Rat and Tony Gingell as Badger, with a full supporting cast. The production is directed by Peter Bramwell, assisted by Kay Walker.

The Wind in the Willows runs from Wednesday October 29 to Saturday November 1 at the Charles Cryer Studio Theatre, High Street, Carshalton, SM5 3BB, with evening performances at 7.45pm and matinees on Thursday October 30 and Saturday November 1 at 2.30pm.

  • Tickets cost £13 for adults, £11 for children and £12 for all other concessions (inclusive of a £1 booking fee on all tickets) and may be booked here or by calling 0208 770 6990.

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3 Responses to Willows could see CODA weeping as they leave the Cryer

  1. I heard they are planning to close the Secombe too ;-(

  2. Michael Hall says:

    But there are plenty of plans afoot to put together community-run rescue plans to keep one (or other) theatre going. Before then, there’s a great range of shows on at the Cryer in October.

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