A historic theatre that staged the first play broadcast live on television could be demolished due to high upkeep costs.

The Intimate Theatre in Palmers Green made history when George and Margaret, a comedy by Gerald Savory, was broadcast live on the BBC in 1946.

An array of stars from the stage and screen have since trodden the boards there, including Richard Attenborough on his stage debut, Roger Moore and David Bowie.

But the building, which is owned by St Monica’s Catholic Church on Stonard Road, could be knocked down to make way for a more modern parish centre.

A church newsletter sent out on September 1 states: “As you may be aware, the large hall and parish centre at Cannon House require major investment. Even after such investment they remain, in design, a theatre and private residence.

“Existing expenditure on maintaining these building is costly and will continue to be in the future. The buildings are not energy-efficient and some areas cannot be accessed by those with impaired mobility.

“To meet the present and envisaged future needs of the parish, it is proposed to build a new parish centre, one that will be a legacy for future generations.”

Since the church’s plans were announced, more than 2,000 people have signed an online petition to save the theatre.

The Intimate was built as a church hall in 1931 and became a theatre in 1935, when it was home to John Clements’ repertory theatre company.

It is now one of the last remaining local theatres left in London.

The building has mainly been used as a function room for parish events since 1988, although some local theatre groups have continued to use it to stage performances.

St Monica’s said it needed an “accessible, flexible, multi-function building” and the only way to achieve this was to replace the existing building.

The church, which admitted the decision had not been an easy one, intends to apply for planning permission in the coming months.

The Intimate is on Enfield’s local heritage list, where it is described as having landmark status, rarity value, historical association and social value.

This means that the council’s planning committee will have to consider its conservation as a heritage asset before deciding on its future.



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