A building in North London that once housed a long-running pottery studio will be given a new lease of life as a children’s puppet theatre and bookshop, following councillors’ approval of plans for the scheme.
For more than half a century, the Hampstead building was home to the Well Walk pottery studio, which finally closed earlier this year.
It is now in the possession of French husband-and-wife duo, film director Dylan McNeil and costume designer Zina Drouche, who intend to turn the basement into a children’s performance space.
“The perfect location” for a children’s theatre
As reported by entertainment-focused newspaper The Stage, the 50-seater Well Walk Theatre will host visiting puppetry and children’s productions, while the ground-floor space will be taken up by a children’s bookshop and cafe.
There are also hopes that puppetry workshops and art classes will be run at the premises, along with a children’s cinema club.
McNeil said that the pair had been on the lookout for a permanent children’s puppetry venue, following the recent closure of a nearby Hampstead shop at which they had previously staged shows.
He said that the erstwhile pottery studio was “full of charm and poetry”, adding that it was “the perfect location” for a children’s theatre.
He added that initially, most of the shows would be staged on weekends and during the school holidays. Meanwhile, the cafe and bookshop would be open during the week, for parents and children to browse after school.
Now, Camden Council has granted planning permission for the couple’s proposed changes, which are set to take approximately 12 months in the run-up to an intended 2020 opening.
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