Former derelict Stratford restaurant reopens as community arts hub

(left to right) Chris Howcroft (Lendlease), students Colleen Liston and Joshua Green and Jason Vince

(left to right) Chris Howcroft (Lendlease), students Colleen Liston and Joshua Green and Jason Vincent (Lendlease) at the opening of Gerry�s in Stratford - Credit: Archant

A new café and community arts space has opened on the site of a former derelict restaurant in Stratford.

The interior of Gerry's

The interior of Gerry's - Credit: Archant

Guests from the council and those in the redevelopment project toasted the launch of Gerry’s, in Gerry Raffles Square, on Wednesday night.

Located opposite the Theatre Royal Stratford East (TRSE), the formerly disused Caribbean Scene restaurant had been empty since 2012, until construction work began in the summer of 2014.

The new venue features a café and bar, plus rehearsal space and a performance studio which will be used by the theatre for installations and exhibitions.

Delivered by property and infrastructure group Lendlease, the project ranged from demolition – including removing cold rooms and defunct commercial kitchen appliances – to extending the bathroom facilities, constructing a brand new bar, laying a 500sq m timber floor area and even removing an eight-foot fish tank.

Kerry Michael, artistic director of the theatre, said: “It’s been great working with Lendlease to create a new multifunctional and intimate performance space for Theatre Royal Stratford East.

“Gerry’s is also a fantastic place for people to work and socialise with a great variety of refreshments.

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“The new space will enable us to produce more shows, different shows and attract an even more varied theatre audience than we already do.”

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