W Bro Mark Russell SLGR reports
In November 2019 the London Freemasons’ Charity gave a grant of £4,500 to The Albany Arts Centre, Deptford, in support of their ‘A Theatre Trip for Every Child’ initiative.
Unfortunately, due to social distancing
regulations, the Centre has had to
temporarily curtail most of its activities but
nonetheless I was given a guided tour of the
building by Hayley Murphy, Head of
Development whose father-in-law is a
The Albany has a history stretching back to
the 19th century. The current building,
opened in 1982 by Diana, Princess of Wales,
boasts a 500-seat theatre and studio space
for the local community to develop and
perform new theatre, poetry, dance and
music, and a year-round programme for
family audiences of all ages.
Hailey explains that the annual ‘Theatre
Trip for Every Child’ “allows local Lewisham
primary schools to bring their Year 1 classes
to the theatre for free, many for the first
time in their lives. We are responding to
the sad reality that the theatre trips most of
us remember as a regular feature of primary
school are now far from guaranteed. In
February, your grant enabled 300 children
to see The Little Prince, a new production
of the classic story written by poet and
playwright Inua Ellams. I’d love to say a
huge thank you to your members.”
There is also a café that acts as a community
hub, allowing locals to drop in for a chat or
participate in activities such as the gardening
The Albany’s Chief Executive said “For
many children the ‘Theatre Trip for Every
Child’ scheme is the first time they will see
a professional production and it’s so
important that we continue to minimise
barriers to participation and access in this
way so all young people can benefit”.
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 42 October 2020 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons - Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.
Read more articles in the Arena Issue 42.