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Multiple Wins for Wimbledon at Food & Culture Awards 2022

A huge congratulations to the 17 businesses in Wimbledon Town Centre, who have received shining recognition in Time & Leisure’s Food & Culture Awards 2022, putting Wimbledon firmly on the map as a destination for dining, cultural events and theatres. 

This year marked the 10th year of the Time & Leisure Food & Culture awards, which are dedicated to celebrating world-class food, drink and culture in South West London and Surrey, as well as recognising the talented and passionate people who make up our hospitality and arts industries. Over 10,000 votes were cast and ambassadors for this year’s awards included top chefs Adam Byatt and Marcus Wareing.

See the full list of winning businesses from Wimbledon Town Centre below.

Pictured: Grilandia

Pictured: Diba

Pictured: New Wimbledon Theatre

We are delighted to see so many of our local businesses in Wimbledon recognised for their excellence by the community. To explore the best of our neighbourhood, try out local favourites across the town and high street here.

Half Term and Halloween Fun

Whether you’re looking for family-friendly entertainment for the kids this half-term, some spooky seasonal adult fun or just great autumn events to welcome in the colder months, Wimbledon has an abundance of activity this October.

For the kids and free

The Wimbledon Hocus Pocus Trail kicks off on the 16th October (until 31st October). Dust off your broomsticks and hats and join Love Wimbledon’s FREE video-led trail around Wimbledon Town Centre. With your wands at the ready, begin at Fielders Art Shop and look for the Hocus Pocus poster. Scan the QR code, watch the videos of our wonderful wizard Merlin to find clues and solve the riddle. Be sure to make a stop at Multea Choice and Polka Theatre along the way for a special treat and pick up your certificate at the end of the trail!

 

For creative fingers, enter in a Pumpkin Decorating Competition before Monday 25th October for a chance to win a mystery prize at Fielders, or head down to Centre Court Shopping Centre’s No Carve Pumpkin Station on 30th October (11 – 4pm) with themed games, stories and demonstrations. Plus the opportunity for children to have a go at dressing pumpkins using crafty goods, including bandages, glitter and more.

Wolves have seized power at Polka Theatre! Inspired by Little Red Riding Hood, discover the world of RED and voyage across Polka, through woods and swampland in an adventure like no other. Book your tickets here for this exciting visual and physical storytelling production and follow the action along with actors, exploring the brilliant new Polka Theatre building! Running until October 31st.

Why not make a day of it? Explore the wonderful newly-redeveloped Polka venue, featuring indoor and outdoor play spaces, a friendly café, a colourful kids shop stocked with children’s toys (puppets, creative kits, etc.), and a book corner to read with your child. The theatre is also hosting a Halloween Shadows creepy craft workshop on Tuesday 26th October, an Autumn Senses multi-sensory storytelling workshop on Friday 29th October and a Power Poets spoken word masterclass on Thursday 28th October.

Wimbledon Library has a Multi-Sports Sessions for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) on Monday 25th and Tuesday 26th October from 9 – 10am. Advance booking is required.

For adults

Enjoy free Prosecco (or Nosecco) while taking part in Centre Court Shopping Centre’s autumn floristry workshop, Pumpkins and Prosecco. From 6.30 – 8.30pm on 21st October, join the session to choose a pumpkin from the locally sourced selection and be taught how to create a stunning autumnal floral display that you can take home beautifully gift-wrapped. All materials and equipment included. Finish your evening in Queen’s Rd Market bar with bespoke cocktails and live music on a Thursday night.
Limited tickets are available.

Up for a night out? Many of the pubs and bars in Wimbledon are celebrating Halloween with special drinks or events.

Trick or treat yourself to a deliciously frightening evening at plant-based café Lu-Ma for their Halloween Supper Club, featuring canapés, cocktails and a 3 course meal: Friday 29th October, 7 – 9pm.

Fancy skipping the Halloween buzz? We’ve got you covered..

Listen to the soothing sounds of jazz in the tranquil surroundings of Lu-Ma café whilst enjoying your favourite meal and tipple, on Saturday 23 October 6-9pm for a very special Jazz Night with saxophonist Andy ‘Bones’ Shaw.

Indulge in foodie haven at our Local Market on The Piazza (Saturday 30th – Sunday 31st October, 11am – 6pm) located in front of Wimbledon Morrisons. Try superb street food, savour the aromas of freshly-baked bread or dive into decadent desserts, olives and cheeses – all whilst browsing unique art, bespoke jewellery, homewares and accessories from independent makers and creators.

Held in the intimate setting of the Studio at New Wimbledon Theatre, hear a unique and unusual story about friendship, love and loss, set to the sounds of live epic pop songs : Epic Love and Pop Songs is running from Saturday 19th October – Saturday 23rd October.

Laugh it up with live comedy every Saturday either at Queens Rd Market (7.30 – 10pm) or Tunnel 267 (8 – 10pm), or giggle away at LGBTQ+ venue CMYK every Tuesday for their Late Gay Comedy Show (9 – 11pm).

See what else is on this October in Wimbledon via our What’s On pages.

Spotlight On: New Wimbledon Theatre

An iconic landmark in Wimbledon Town Centre for over 100 years, New Wimbledon Theatre was forced to close last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and has recently re-opened with a stellar line-up of performances including musicals, comedy, family entertainment, dance, drama and their upcoming legendary annual pantomime.

The theatre is also home to the Studio, where you can watch epic entertainment from new writers, comedians and producers in an intimate setting. Offering a wide range of performances to enjoy up close and personal, from comedy to drama and three topical new shows from hot writers this season.

We chatted with Nick Parr, Theatre Director, to find out more about their big return!

Tell us a little bit about New Wimbledon Theatre and the Studio.
The New Wimbledon Theatre opened on Boxing Day 1910 with our first ever panto, Jack and Jill. With over 1,600 seats, we’ve welcomed some of the biggest stars of stage and screen over the years. We’ve also become a popular filming location, and you may spot us in some of your favourite films and TV shows. The Studio is a great 80 seat black box theatre where we are able to host the best in comedy, new writing and our very own Fringe festival #FromTheFringe which will return in 2022.

How does it feel to re-open after such a long time?
It’s great to be back, we believe this is the longest closure the theatre has ever gone through – 503 days. It first closed during WW2 for a brief period around 1940, and then again when there was a change in management. We’ve got a great programme of shows, bringing Wimbledon the best of the West End in the main house, and some great new writing in the Studio with our Premieres season. The team here can’t wait to get back to doing what we do best.

What upcoming shows are a must-see?
We have a wealth of shows direct from the West End including Jersey Boys, School of Rock and Dreamgirls. We will also be rocking out with Bat Out of Hell and We Will Rock You.

What can we expect from this year’s panto?
Lots of laughs! Shane Richie stars as Dick Whittington and we cannot wait to have panto back after missing it in 2020. The ultimate magical pantomime adventure.

How have things changed since Covid-19?
We are operating paperless with e-tickets becoming the norm. There has been no change in capacity and we have been so pleased to welcome our audiences back in a safe way. To ensure the continued safety of our visitors and staff, currently, all attendees over the age of 18 will be required to provide proof of their COVID-19 status to gain entry to the venue. You can find out more on our website.

 

Check out our What’s On pages for more performances and shows by New Wimbledon Theatre and remember to support our local arts in their return. #LoveLocal 

Wimbledon’s Rainbow Crossing Returns!

Wimbledon’s Rainbow Crossing Gets A New Look!

The UK’s first rainbow crossing was created in Wimbledon Town Centre in 2019 by Merton Council and Love Wimbledon BID. After a short break, the crossing has returned with a slightly different look and even more colour.

Situated outside New Wimbledon Theatre, the crossing, which acts as a symbol to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, now features an updated ‘Progress Pride’ flag to include representation for black and trans pride. Delivered by Merton Council, this will be the first rainbow crossing in London with the new design – the chevron of black and brown stripes to represent people of colour, with blue, pink and white stripes to represent trans people. The white also symbolises those who have been lost to HIV/AIDS, and the chevron points to the right to show forward movement, indicating progress.

The crossing has been relocated to a new location 50m west of The Broadway, after the entrance space outside the theatre was extended to create a new public space.

As well as providing a welcoming diversity message, the crossing offers colourful joy to schoolchildren, shoppers and culture-lovers who are passing by. It acts as a celebratory reminder for Wimbledon’s first LGBTQ+ bar CMYK, home to great queer DJs and drag entertainment located just a brief walk away from the crossing.

Helen Clark Bell, Chief Executive of the Love Wimbledon BID, commented:

We’re very glad to see the rainbow crossing return to Wimbledon, with a new and more inclusive design to represent the broader LGBTQ+ community. As well as creating a warm welcome to all, the crossing contributes to the growing arts and cultural scene in Wimbledon and is an absolute joy to see.

Merton Council delivered the crossing with FM Conway Contractors.

To find more hidden gems in Wimbledon’s cultural scene, including innovative street art and architectural secrets, click here.

Wimbledon Pie Bake-Off

To celebrate their re-opening and the opening gala performance: Waitress the Musical, New Wimbledon Theatre, are inviting you to enjoy a slice of pie at the judging day of their local pie contest.

Thursday 2nd September on The Piazza (outside Morrison’s): event from 12pm with final judging at 3pm.

Pies will be available for sampling after the final judging.

Businesses in Wimbledon Town Centre and their employees, will be putting their baking skills to the test and competing to find out who can reign supreme!

The contest is centred around protagonist Jenna, of musical comedy Waitress, who creates some wild and wonderful pie creations, such as Marshmallow Mermaid Pie, Pineapple Upside Down Pie and A Little Wild Wild Berry Pie.

Competing for a special gift and tickets to the show, businesses will be judged against categories such as: best looking pie, most inventive ingredients, best themed pie, and lots more.

So head down to The Piazza on Thursday 2nd September from 12pm to join in on the fun, and get your tickets for the show here.

 

About the Show

Meet Jenna, a waitress and expert pie-maker who dreams of some happiness in her life. When a hot new doctor arrives in town, life gets complicated. With the support of her workmates Becky and Dawn, Jenna overcomes the challenges she faces and finds that laughter, love and friendship can provide the perfect recipe for happiness.

 

#LoveLocal This Valentine’s Day

Cafe Mori Cupcakes

Roses are red, violets are blue, Wimbledon has everything you need to make a perfect night for two.

With the current lockdown, there are still plenty of ways to put a homely spin on typical Valentine’s Day celebrations. Whether you’re hoping to impress your partner, treat a friend or relative, or indulge in some self-love, Wimbledon businesses have developed great menu’s, products and ideas to make this Sunday 14th February, a night to remember.

For a truly memorable date night to look forward to, pick a performance that’s sure to wow. Surprise your loved one with tickets to a brilliant future show at New Wimbledon Theatre or enjoy a live stream of the world’s most famous love story, Romeo & Juliet.

Floral treats are always a winner – enjoy deliciously sweet and fluffy floral cupcakes from local Japanese café, Café Mori, or pick up a beautiful fresh-smelling bouquet from Wimbledon Flower Kiosk (located outside Wimbledon Station).

Wimbledon pub The Old Frizzle is offering two Valentine’s cook-at-home for you and one special other. These include a mouth-wateringly gooey Raclette box, where you can melt your cheese on your very own grill! Everything comes prepared for you, so all you need to do is pop a few things in the oven, light the candle under the burner and watch the cheese bubble away as you celebrate at home with your special someone. Or opt for a Swingers Roast Box, which includes with pork, chicken and beef, with all the usual trimmings. Simply pre-order in advance for delivery.

Whether you’re looking for gifts for a loved one, a best friend or yourself, Elys has a great range of heart-warming Valentine’s Day gifts, including champagne truffles, luxury perfumes and great-smelling candle sets. Plus find out how to create a loving dining-out experience at home and top tasty Valentine’s treats, from Elys Food Tastemaker Sisley White such as Bitesize Strawberry Chocolate Tarts.

Or create the perfect intimate setting with massage and essential oils, vegan sweets and herbal face masks from Health Zone Wimbledon. Add the finishing touches with a custom-made Valentine’s balloon bouquet from Partica.

Remember this Valentine’s Day is also #LoveLocalDay, so whatever you’re buying – think local and support our independent, small businesses in our town. See what shops are open here, and for the full list of restaurants and cafes offering takeaway and delivery click here.

What to See in Wimbledon

 

Set your sights on something new

 

The New Year signals new beginnings – a time to reflect, set goals and explore something different. From live music to theatre performances, comedy and community events, there’s no shortage of things to see and do in Wimbledon Town Centre.

Look for a superb line-up of performances this season at the New Wimbledon Theatre, including the show-stopping musical On Your Feet!, Matthew Bourne’s legendary film adaptation of ‘The Red Shoes’ and Adam Kay’s ‘This is Going to Hurt’.  If it’s live music or comedy you’re after, head to the Studio at New Wimbledon Theatre for Jazz in a Broad Way or Comedy Round Mine.

The Polka Theatre is set to re-open late 2020 and is still running activities in Wimbledon Library and the Studio at New Wimbledon Theatre.

 

See What’s On in Wimbledon

 

Sparrow    

 

Looking for something a little more low-key? Take a wander through Wimbledon to view the new ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’ art collaboration with artist Louis Masai, on Alwyne Road. This street art aims to raise awareness of the decline of British birds in London, particularly the House Sparrow, renowned for its birdsong and seen as a vital part of urban life. Watch the public reaction to the art.

Or go further afield and head out for a stroll to visit the landmarks of Secret Wimbledon or the Rainbow Crossing on The Broadway, next to New Wimbledon Theatre and CMYK bar, which celebrates the town’s inclusivity.

 

 

Events

#FromTheFringe

Introducing New Wimbledon Theatre’s very own Fringe festival – #FromTheFringe! With tickets starting from £11.

Throughout June, the Studio at New Wimbledon Theatre will play a host to 17 wildly different and exciting shows, many of which have never been seen before. Having been hand-selected from the very best submissions, these include a range of electrifying theatre-makers, intelligible children’s shows and absolutely hilarious stand-up and sketch comedies.

FOR COMEDY FANS

  • Simon Brodkin: Work in Progress (Wed 8 Jun 2022) SOLD OUT
  • Fraudian Slip (Thu 9 Jun 2022)
    Ever feel like you don’t fit in? That you are the odd one one? Well, you aren’t, we ALL feel that way. Imposter syndrome is real! Join Jal and listen to stories from her authentic fraudulent life. Bristolian stand up Jaleelah Galbraith presents her 3rd full length show as a preview before this year’s Edinburgh Festival.
  • Bad Clowns: Invasion (Fri 10 Jun 2022)
    For many years the Bureau for Alien Defence has kept the world safe from extra-terrestrial threats. B.A.D agents Sam and Christian have been given their latest mission; a mind-controlling alien has infiltrated Earth, and it’s taken over the mind of one of the audience members. Worst of all, the investigation is being monitored by Special Agent J-1, a B.A.D legend. The investigation hits a bump in the road when the agents discover a lethal alien weapon. J-1 is the only human alive who could disarm it. However, once he accidentally wipes his own memory using B.A.D technology, it’s up to agents Sam and Christian to find the alien, and somehow disable this device before it obliterates the entire planet!
  • Dan Antopolski: Telemachus Weeps (Mon 13 Jun 2022)
    A stand-up comedy show like all others but 15-20% less terrible.
  • Matt Hoss: Hossanova (Thu 16 Jun 2022)
    Matt Hoss is an award-winning stand-up comedian, distinguished Twitch streamer, writer for BBC Newcastle and host of the hit podcast Castival. In this special, storytelling stand-up show, hear Matt’s his hilarious struggles with modern morality, lockdown laughs and his irresponsible plans to save the world. The fate of the universe lies in the audience’s hands (but no pressure though).
  • Maureen Younger (Thu 23 Jun 2022)
    In her latest show, Maureen tries to find the funny from her year of hell: the triple whammy of cancer, property developers and housing associations.

FOR THEATRE-LOVERS

  • Foundations (Sun 5 Jun 2022)
    MJ is a human who is sick of moving boxes around all day like a robot. Pins is a robot who doesn’t fit into the underground. When they meet in the space between their worlds, they form a friendship that blurs the boundaries between human and machine. A Pixar movie brought to life on stage using physical theatre and puppetry, Foundations is a whimsical production that tackles what it means to be human in an age of technology. Featuring handmade puppets and an originally composed soundtrack, the show is suitable for audiences aged 9-99.
  • Dog/Actor (Sat 11 Jun 2022)
    Two explosive and comedic short plays written by Steven Berkoff, performed back-to-back by the same one actor. The first play: Dog follows a day in the life of a racist football hooligan and his beloved pitbull terrier, Roy, who changes his life. The second play: Actor is a spoken word monologue that delves into the heart of the acting industry, humorously and poignantly portraying the trying life of a struggling artist. Without the use of any set or props, Dog/Actor presents a masterclass in physical theatre and comedic storytelling, promising a thrilling theatrical experience.
  • Love You and Leave You (dead) (Tue 14 Jun 2022)
    When Cal comes home from the hospital after suffering from a nearly-exploded appendix, Mandy is forced to question the mortality of her girlfriend. She considers the undeniable eventuality that one day, Cal might unwillingly leave Mandy through her own death. With a few weeks bedrest on the cards, babysitting Cal becomes dominated by an internal struggle: Wouldn’t the pain of loss be so much easier to survive if she knew it was coming? If she was prepared for it? In an effort to control the unbearable pain of losing a loved one, Mandy decides to be the one to kickstart the grieving process and instigate the loss herself—by killing her girlfriend Cal. A dark comedy about modern relationships and obsessive love.
  • Impromptu Shakespeare (Fri 17 Jun 2022)
    Buckling on the bard’s britches to improvise the plays he never wrote.Sad that Shakespeare hasn’t written anything new for over 400 years? Well, hold onto your doublets, ruffs and trunk hose. The Bard is back! With story and verse improvised in the moment, enjoy a riotous new Shakespeare play every time – performed by Impromptu Shakespeare’s whip smart cast. Packed with priceless wit, lyrical smarts, romance, and a dash of double-crossing, this leading ensemble do the Bard proud with a brand new one-act hit every time, inspired by audience suggestions. Impromptu Shakespeare have been a smash hit at the Edinburgh Fringe, Bristol Shakespeare Festival, and appeared on BBC Shakespeare Live.
  • Viva!!! (Sat 18 Jun 2022)
    Viva is a story of betrayal between two old friends who forget what’s important in life…. wrestling and tacos. Sometimes when the strongest bonds snap the only way forward is to serve a bowl of cold, hard revenge. It will take more than blood, sweat and ketchup to reunite their time tested friendship otherwise they risk plunging into the darkness of the 9 levels of hell. Full of vibrant Mexican culture, Mariachi, Luchadors, and Day of the Dead offerings, Viva fuses the laughs of a clown show with high octane energy of wrestling delivering extreme stupidity you haven’t experienced before.
  • Bread and Circuses (Sun 19 Jun 2022)
    Ninety minutes of dancing bears, fire eating pygmy goats, juggling manatees and chimps in crinolines. Profugo promise all or none of these and other fabricated guff, in a fast-paced evening of hilarious characters and uproarious sketch comedy.
  • By the Light of La Luna (Tue 21 Jun 2022)
    5 people, each of them adrift in their own lives, awaken in a room on the moon. As they struggle to find the strength to leave, they are aided by a mysterious pale figure who lives in a wardrobe. Aplay about perseverance, By the Light of La Luna blends elements of physical theatre and surrealism in order to tell a heartfelt, funny, and moving tale. An examination of what it means to have courage when everything else feels lost.
  • Shoddy Detective (Wed 22 Jun 2022)
    A bumbling detective is called upon to uncover the mystery of a priceless stolen painting, but when he cannot solve it himself he is forced to enlist the help of an old nemesis. Together, the pair must interrogate the many characterful suspects that reside at the manor, in order to catch the conniving culprit and solve the crime of the century.
  • The Boys (Sat 25 Jun 2022)
    Award-winning actor Will Charlton presents the premiere of his new play in the Studio at New Wimbledon Theatre. Friends. Housemates. Lads. The Boys are just trying to make their way in the world or at the very least – London. With the cost of living only ever increasing, jobs harder to come by, and the price of a mocha in a local West London coffee shop rising to £4.09, three millennials make a desperate attempt to keep their heads afloat with a drastic career change. “We should become escorts.” The Boys is a dark comedy about the lengths young people will go to in order to survive in a merciless economy, and the difference between working to live and living to work.

FOR FAMILIES

  • The Extraordinary Time-Travelling Adventures of Baron Munchausen (Sun 12 Jun 2022)
    Winner of the “Best Children’s Show on the Fringe” at Manchester last year, this exciting new concept show features award-winning comedians and improvisers who are challenged by one another to invent outrageously exaggerated swashbuckling stories based on the The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. Discover how the Baron invented Morris dancing, how his actions saved the Isle of Skye from sinking beneath the waves, why every fourth child in Bruges is named after him and other fantastically delightful stories. This show will delight adults and children with its wonderful joie de vivre and other pretentious words!
  • Around the World with Nellie Bly (Sun 26 Jun 2022)
    The year is 1889 and intrepid journalist Nellie Bly is the toast of New York. She has already exposed cheating politicians, broken up an evil smuggling ring, and put herself in personal danger to catch the villain assaulting people in Central Park, but ahead of her lies her greatest adventure yet! Join Nellie as she travels around the world racing against Jules Verne’s famous fictional hero, Phileas Fogg. This one-woman show uses Bly’s own account to bring to life this incredible, little-known story of a pioneering woman, that aims to inspire young audiences and prove that adventure stories aren’t just for boys.

 

BOOK YOUR TICKETS HERE

We Will Rock You

The worldwide smash hit musical by Queen and Ben Elton comes to New Wimbledon Theatre.

The multi-million-pound show dazzles all the senses in breath-taking style. Guaranteed to blow your mind, this musical phenomenon is not to be missed!

Since 2002 over 16 million theatergoers in 19 countries have thrilled to this awe-inspiring production.

With 24 of Queen’s biggest hits delivered in a show that boasts the scale and spectacle that marked the bands’ legendary live performances. 24 of Queen’s greatest hits, including Radio Ga Ga, Killer Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody and, of course, We Will Rock You!

Taking on the role of Galileo is Olivier Award nominee Ian McIntosh (Beautiful – The Carole King Musical / The Commitments), who will be joined by Elena Skye (Les Misérables / Kinky Boots) in the role of Scaramouche. Playing Killer Queen is Jenny O’Leary (Heathers The Musical / Rent), with Michael McKell (Macbeth / Blood Brothers) as Buddy. Adam Strong (Jesus Christ Superstar / Rock of Ages) will take on the role of Khashoggi, with David-Michael Johnson (We Will Rock You, Germany / Jesus Christ Superstar) reprising the role of Brit and Amy Di Bartolomeo (Bat Out of Hell / Priscilla Queen of the Desert) playing Oz.