Behind The Scenes At Waterloo East Theatre

Manager Gerald Armin tells us all about his Brad Street venue.

From appearing in some of the biggest music videos of the 1980s to becoming an Olivier Award-winning theatre producer to clearing sewers – it’s fair to say Gerald Armin has seen most sides of the world of showbiz.

The one-time actor turned theatre owner/manager appeared in many iconic videos of the 80’s with groups such as Wham, Adam Ant and Duran Duran.

He has also won many awards for his theatre productions which have played all over the world, most recently the Edinburgh Fringe First winning show Tom Crean – Antarctic Explorer.

But perhaps the most challenging role of his career is his current one – owner/manager of Waterloo East Theatre in Brad Street.

Gerald took over the disused arch just over two years ago to convert it into a theatre space to showcase productions and promote challenging and innovative drama, music and comedy.

But he admits he was daunted by the task ahead when he first spotted the disused railway arch the theatre calls home.

He said: “When I saw it it was completely unused and empty, with no electricity or water. It took six months to get it ready to open.

“I did everything from cleaning out the sewers to painting the walls and fixing the door handles.

“I felt incredibly proud when we opened. It’s something I could never have imagined until it actually happened.”

It has not been all plain sailing since the theatre opened. Ongoing problems with increasing the theatre’s profile have coincided with issues over cash flow as the theatre is not in receipt of any funding.

Gerald said: “We do still get people who live in Waterloo saying “I didn’t know you were here”.

“The diciest point has been this year, thinking of how we were going to cope with the economic climate and all the summer events like the Jubilee and the Olympics.

“I was worried about how it was going to affect the business, which is still finding its feet.

“But theatre is my world. It’s been in me since I was a kid and I feel very proud of what I have achieved so far.”

The theatre is currently hosting The President and the Pakistani, a tale about Barack Obama’s early life directed by Tom Attenborough.

Like all other productions at Waterloo East Theatre, the play will have had a “pay what you can” night to encourage people on all incomes to come and see some live theatre.

Gerald said: “I feel very positive about the future, and particularly about the production as it is very topical and I think there is an audience for it.

“Going forward though what we really need is financial support, as we receive no funding. The ideal scenario for us would be if we could get a sponsor of some sort or a generous benefactor!”

You can read more about The President and the Pakistani here.

If you would like to learn more about sponsorship opportunities for Waterloo East Theatre, call Gerald on 020 7928 0060.