Category Archives: News


John Boyega Press ReleaseThe ‘Made in Peckham’ institution, Theatre Peckham, announces Star Wars Star John Boyega is to join the company as Patron. Theatre Peckham, which has been central to the local community for 30 years, is delighted to welcome him back to the company. In his role as Patron, BAFTA Winning Rising Star John will launch the new Name A Seat campaign, which underpins a fundraising campaign for the theatre’s new home in Peckham.

The team at Theatre Peckham are so proud of everything John has already achieved on film, TV and stage, and delighted to welcome him to the team as inspiration for the hundreds of young people coming through the doors of the theatre on a weekly basis. John, who attended Theatre Peckham throughout his school years – age 9 – 14 – is a global superstar thanks to his role in the new Star Wars series and has recently announced a return to the stage March 2017 at the Old Vic.

“As a graduate of the company, I am honoured to be in a position to give back to Theatre Peckham, beginning with the name a seat fundraising campaign which supports the theatre’s new home in Peckham,” said actor John Boyega. “I admire Theatre Peckham’s continued mission to increase diversity in the creative industries, inspiring young people like myself to be the change we want to see in this industry.”

 Teresa Early, Artistic Director and Founder of Theatre Peckham added:

“I am so proud of all our young people – John saying he would be honoured to be a Patron, will be a huge boost for our young members – now there’s an act for them to follow!”

 The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:

“John Boyega’s inspiring story is something every Londoner should be proud of. As a young south London boy he learnt his craft at a local theatre, and has gone on to become a star in one of the highest grossing movies of all time. It is fantastic that Theatre Peckham, one of this city’s local cultural gems, gave him this wonderful opportunity. As Mayor for all Londoners, I will do everything I can to support the next generation to pursue an interest in culture, enrich their lives and help maintain London’s position as a global beacon of the arts.”

Theatre Peckham is a theatre company serving South London’s young people from age three up with courses and classes in Voice, Dance and Drama. TP produces two professional productions a year starring kids from the theatre’s term time classes. Working within the local community, TP seeks to play its part in readdressing the continued lack of diversity in the creative industries. Currently only 6% of those working in the performing arts come from BAME backgrounds. The theatre company is working to change this by encouraging young people from varied backgrounds to consider a career in the arts.

In 2016 the theatre moves into a new home complete with a 200-seat theatre, two studio spaces and office space. The new building has been funded by Southwark Council and through Section 106 funding from Alumno Development’s development of the old Southwark Town Hall. An Arts Council Grant is providing new equipment, with help from Trusts and Foundations. Campaigns like Name a Seat will support current funds and are the first step for the theatre seeking alternative forms of funding as core arts funding in the Capital continues to change.

Current patrons of Theatre Peckham include Sir Ian McKellen, Jenny Agutter OBE, David Harewood MBE and Paulette Randall.

Statistic credit: 6% of those working in the performing arts come from BAME backgrounds. Creative Industries Federation – Creative Diversity, September 2015

FREE Introduction to Playwriting Course (15 – 24)

Theatre Peckham is collaborating with Euphoric Ink and Ola Animashawun (Creative Director of Euphoric Ink and founder of the Royal Court’s Young Writer’s Programme) on an Introduction to Playwriting Course.

The ten-week beginners playwriting course is open to writers 15-24.

The course starts on 14 April 2016 and will run on Thursday evenings from 5-7pm, meeting in the Peckham Library.

Cost: FREE. There is no fee to attend, but booking is essential.

How to apply: Please express your interest to: / 0207 708 5401.

Deadline: 1 April 2016 at 5pm

Introduction to Playwriting (15 - 24) flyer

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt…

Calling all Theatre Peckham alumni & current students; we’re launching a photo project to connect all previous bear-winners from any one of our fantastic shows over the past 15 years.

Are you bear-winner? Please send us a picture with your bear via email to

Cyrus & Freya; Clown, 2015
Cyrus & Freya; Clown, 2015


In November 2000 children were rehearsing for the big Christmas show – that millennium year it was “The Tale of Giant Big Bloke.”

At the same time we were running a touring show for under-fives, based on the rhyme “Miss Polly Had a Dolly”. The large and lovely doll who played the Dolly in the show had a toy of her own – a very small Teddy bear.  This Doll and her Bear often sat beside me as we rehearsed for “Big Bloke” – and interest in these toys grew among many members of the child cast.  Desire became strong – all the children wanted to own the little Bear.

The children asked questions:- “What can he do?”  “What is his name?”  “Can I have him?”

“He can do quite a lot.” I replied. “He can move his arms and legs – look.”  A leg went up in a high kick – “and his arms do this” – Bear’s right arm swung up in a good imitation of a Heil Hitler salute.

“His name is Dennis.” I said. There was silence. “And no you can’t have him. You can’t have him because there is one Bear and around thirty five children in this cast.  You can’t ALL have him.”

Disappointment. Then a voice chirped up.

“Why is that bear called Dennis?”

“Dennis’s name”, I replied smoothly, (I had just made it up) “-comes from the front of the rubbish trucks that pick up our bins. You know those bin lorries.  They have Dennis written right across their fronts.”

“This Dennis is an actor, like you. He knows a good performance from a rubbish one. And when he sees some lazy person give a bad performance he puts his paw up like this (Bear saluted) and shouts “RUBBISH”.”  Children fell about with laughter,-and indignation, and bewilderment.

When I had quelled the outcry we went on with the rehearsal. More than once Dennis joined in. His paw swung high and a shout of “RUBBISH!” went up. The rehearsal was hilarious.

Before we all went home, at the end of rehearsal time, I sat the whole cast down – silently!

“Dennis is going to be given away on the last performance of this show. “ I announced.

”He will be given to the girl or boy about whose performance, and behaviour, Dennis has never, ever, had to put his paw up and shout “RUBBISH”.

Every public show since then has seen Dennis, and the sons and daughters of Dennis, awarded to the children who have worked, behaved, and performed to the highest standard in every cast.

When the girl bear was introduced (- one for a boy, one for a girl,) some bright spark (I think it was one of the Turney girls) suggested that the Boy Bear should be called Oscar, and the Girl Bear Emmy. They have been called this ever since.