South London's erratic temple of the avant-garde
The forward-thinking Battersea Arts Centre, which inhabits the old Battersea Town Hall, has become synonymous with experimental theatre. Under long-term artistic director David Jubb it's styled itself as home of 'scratch' (work-in-progress) performance, but frequently breaks cover with mini-festivals of finished work and the occasional huge, mad project – notably Punchdrunk's immersive 'Masque of the Red Death', which totally took over the entire theatre for a year. It also fosters strong links with the local community – not least as a venue to get married in – and is popular with comedians as a venue for trialling new work.
It has a constantly festival air, with cheap tickets and a convivial bar that offers a wide selection of beers and decent tapas.
Its occasionally turbulent history has been marked by at least one theatre of closure due to loss of funding, and a dramatic fire in March 2015 that closed large portions of the building.
To the outside eye, however, BAC remains indestructible, with fire damage just another phase in a building that's in constant flux and development.