This summer we have been enjoying working with the great team at Theatre Royal Stratford East to refurbish the Green Room, their backstage which is used by cast, creatives and staff all through the year.
The award-winning theatre, which has served the heart of East London since 1884, has seen our Anthologists and friends from Watkins Jones strip out, don their paint brushes and get to work to fully refurbish the space.
We caught up with Claudia Winter, Development Co-ordinator for the Theatre about the refurbishment project and all things about the much-loved Theatre.
What is your background and role with the Theatre?
I started at Stratford East in November 2018 as Development Co-ordinator for Corporate supporters. I never thought I’d end up working in theatre, but it’s been a happy accident! Before this I trained as an artist blacksmith and was lucky enough to travel and set up a small business in that role. I loved the process of setting up a business and gravitated towards theatre from there.
How is the Green Room used? Is it an important part to the Theatre?
The Green Room is a bit of a beating heart for our backstage areas. As well as being a space for the cast and creative team to relax during production runs, it’s also our staff room and meeting space. It’s integral to our day-to-day (especially when you drink as much tea as we do!) and gives us such a lovely environment to get to welcome and chat to everyone that comes into the building.
How will the refurb to the Green Room help make a difference to the Theatre?
It’s been decades since the Green Room has been decorated and it’s been in desperate need of a facelift - the kitchen was practically falling apart! When there’s long rehearsal days or the Production team are working late, it’s going to make such a difference to have a comfortable space where everyone can hang out and have dinner in. We’re all so excited for the fresh space to be revealed!
What shows do you have coming up this season?
We’re opening with ‘Our Lady of Kibeho’ in September, which will be the London premiere of Katori Hall’s critically acclaimed drama. It’s based on the remarkable true events that happened in 1981 at Kibeho College in Rwanda, where three young girls began having prophetic visions.
Alongside Kibeho we’ll also have Roundabout arriving in October – a bright yellow, pop-up theatre, which seats 168 people and can be fully assembled with an Allen key! It’s going to be built in Theatre Square (outside Stratford East) and will host theatre, music, discussions and entertainers for three weeks – it’s a proper kick-start to the season ahead.
What do you love most about living/working in Stratford?
I love the market stalls in the Stratford Centre - it’s a bustling space and you can find great bargains as well as completely random things.
Do you have any top tips for other places to visit in the area?
Always Unit 6 – the best coffee. The Stratford Hotel Brasserie has opened recently and has incredible food too, and Olive and Lemon on Stratford Broadway does a banging halloumi wrap.
Finally, what does home mean to you?
I think my definition of home changes a lot – but always it’s where I feel safest.
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