Our History

Redbridge Drama Centre

1969 - founded by Drama Adviser Hugh Lovegrove and started life in the unused former headquarters of Dr Barnardo’s in Barkingside, Ilford.  

1975 - moved into its current premises in Churchfields, South Woodford. In its early days RDC was mainly a base for teachers courses, evening workshops with students and a place for working with school groups.

1978 -  began to operate as a fringe theatre venue and early visiting companies included Shared Experience, Women’s Theatre Group and Kaboodle.

1985 -  established as the media studies support service for Redbridge.

1995 -  formed its own resident professional theatre company which responds to commissions to create touring shows for schools, other shows for the fringe and work place training packages.

1996 -  was awarded a National Lottery capital grant to  extend the building to include a technical workshop, an additional small studio and additional backstage facilities. The  programme of out of school workshops was expanded to include classes for infants, lower juniors, upper juniors, young people, youth and adults.

2006 - after a change of leadership positioned itself as a fringe theatre venue, scheduling  more performances by professional theatre companies.

2007 - became a Regularly Funded Organisation (RFO) of Arts Council England.

2012 - became part of ACE's National Portfolio.

2015 - was  awarded NPO status by ACE  and was also awarded a Small Capital Grant to further enhance its facilities.  

2016 - RYTW are chosen to perform Gargantua to close the National Theatre Connections Festival.

2017- 2021 - Chosen again to receive ACE's Nationsl Portfolio status.

Arts Council England funding allows RDC  to expand the professional theatre programme and develop the resident and associate theatre company schemes as well as offering more opportunities for young people to watch great new theatre productions, be inspired by excellent artists - create their own work and perform to new audiences.

It's great that ACE has recognised RDC's contribution to the local and national arts picture. A further reflection of this was the award of a capital grant to continue developing the venue in order to improve the experience of children, young people and members of the wider community.