Jermyn Street Theatre flooded

Published: 9 April 2020
Reporter: Howard Loxton

Michael Pennington as Prospero in The Tempest at Jermyn Street Theatre Credit: Robert Workman

Already closed by the pandemic, Jermyn Street Theatre was struck by a further blow yesterday when a pipe burst in an abandoned basment room nearby. It put the basement theatre under five feet of water causing considerable damage to much of its workshop, technical store, props and furniture store, dressing rooms, offices and archives. Ironically this happened just after reaching its initial £10,000 target in a public fundraising campaign.

The flood was discovered by Penny Horner, the theatre's co-founder and Executive Director. The London Fire Brigade was 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 coronavirus 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 has been left open for anyone wishing to donate.