Theatre Delicatessen are working with Southwark Council to transform Camberwell Free Library, also known as the Passmore Edwards Old Library or simply the Old Library. Situated in the middle of Burgess Park, bisecting it North South on Wells Way, this marks the first phase to transform the disused premises into a new arts and cultural space for the local community.
The collective have taken on the space on a two year lease from the council and intend to run the building as a performance and rehearsal space and to host residencies for emerging companies to develop new works. They will be working with local dance and art performance collective Involuntary Movement, developing a series of programmes open to all living locally.
The site was originally conceived as part of the late Victorian philanthropic project by Victor Passmore Edwards, who bequeathed funds to set up over 70 major public buildings including school, libraries, convalescent homes and art galleries in South and East London. Opened to the public in 1903, a municipal swimming pool, bathing rooms and a wash house were integrated into the construction of the library building, offering educational, social and health infrastructure to the area.