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 London Freemason.


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 club.


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.