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Secret Cinema’s founder is taking over a ghostly South London department store

Croydon is getting a ‘multidisciplinary arts and entertainment space’

Phil de Semlyen
Written by
Phil de Semlyen

Note: this story was amended to remove references to Secret Cinema.

The founder of Secret Cinema, Fabien Riggall, has made his name by keeping the exact nature of their immersive events and their venues under wraps. His latest venture has just come to light: it’s called Lost and will transform Croydon’s historic Allders building into an arts and entertainment space.

The plan is to use the ground and first floor of the one-time department store, transforming the old emporium into a multidisciplinary venue ‘celebrating art, entertainment and retail’ and a community hub.  

‘The aim of Lost… is to reimagine the exhibition and distribution of physical experiences, by designing a new format of entertainment,’ says Riggall. ‘A disruptive force set to regenerate forgotten high streets and subvert the current system, [it] will build a new subculture uniting local and international artists together in a unique community on a global scale.’

Continues the official release: ‘[it will offer] a new community hub for locals and visitors to gather and interact in the real world. Lost will generate thousands of job opportunities within the area across the next five years.’

Lost promises to ‘redefine culture, reframe space and build a new form of art’, turning disused high-streets and shopping centres into ‘magical environments designed to bring people from all walks of life together.’

As Croydonians will attest, the Allders building has been gathering dust since the department store went into administration in 2012. It’s been standing empty since plans for a Westfield development were ditched in 2021.

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