The play’s the thing in to­day’s hous­ing mar­ket

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Shakespear­e Special -

Buy close to a thriv­ing theatre and you’ll en­joy a cul­tural and fi­nan­cial div­i­dend, says

How about liv­ing within five min­utes of cur­tain up? Great mu­si­cals, high­brow plays and pan­tomimes will all come to visit you. No won­der peo­ple love to live close to a good theatre. Ex­perts are re­port­ing a new cul­tural div­i­dend in the prop­erty mar­ket. Look no fur­ther than the re­gen­er­a­tion of Lon­don’s South Bank to see how the­atres and gal­leries can cre­ate a sense of fun and el­e­vate prop­erty prices at the same time.

“Fam­i­lies with teenagers now want to move into towns to take ad­van­tage of the­atres and restau­rants,” says Ru­pert Sweet­ing, head of Knight Frank’s country house de­part­ment. “They want their chil­dren to join a youth theatre, or go to pop and rock con­certs. Older buy­ers also like to be within walk­ing dis­tance of the ac­tion.” There is a kind of cul­tural ku­dos at­tached to houses near a theatre, he says.

The prop­erty mar­ket, too, is ac­knowl­edg­ing the magic of the stage.

Berke­ley Homes is build­ing a new Lon­don theatre in the mid­dle of its de­vel­op­ment One Tower Bridge, just along from the Globe, the Na­tional Theatre and the Queen El­iz­a­beth Hall.

The new 900-seat au­di­to­rium will be home to the Lon­don Theatre Com­pany, led by Ni­cholas Hyt­ner and Nick Starr, for­mer artis­tic di­rec­tor and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Theatre. The play’s the thing, as Ham­let said.

How­ever, out­side Lon­don, there are many more theatre hotspots to tour. If ama­teur dra­mat­ics is your thing, then head to Hen­ley-on-Thames. The Ken­ton Theatre was founded in 1805 The Royal Shake­speare Com­pany has its home in Strat­ford upon Avon at the world-fa­mous theatre of the same name and the smaller Swan next door.

Pro­duc­tions are staged year round, with this year’s high­lights in­clud­ing Paapa Essiedu’s black Ham­let and Antony Sher’s King Lear.

“I have one buyer who moved to a cot­tage just out­side town solely be­cause of his love of Shake­speare,” says Sam Holton of Knight Frank. “He was com­ing so reg­u­larly he thought he might as well have a home here.”

Holton is now sell­ing a smart two-bed­room flat in the re­cently built Se­quoia Mews, with com­mu­nal gar­dens and pri­vate ac­cess to the tramway path into town, for £475,000. The city cen­tre in York is so com­pact that you can reach al­most every­where by walk­ing. The race­course, restau­rants, mu­se­ums, art gallery, cathe­dral and Theatre Royal are all within a stroll. A few sec­onds from the Theatre Royal, a whole Grade II listed “I am used to Tun­bridge Wells, where we are all hope­lessly be­hind the times,” says Char­lotte Bartlett in EM Forster’s A Room with a View.

Res­i­dents are of­ten lam­pooned as re­ac­tionary let­ter-writ­ers sign­ing them­selves “dis­gusted of Tun­bridge Wells”, but th­ese days they are more likely to be com­muter fam­i­lies.

Trin­ity Theatre, which has a busy youth theatre and mu­si­cal theatre for young play­ers, shows art films, as well as live broad­casts from the Royal Opera House and Royal Shake­speare Com­pany.

A top choice for theatre­go­ers is a six-bed­room Ed­war­dian tile-hung house at £1.45m through Knight Frank.

The prop­erty is a short walk to the theatre, shops and rail­way sta­tion – trains take 43 min­utes into Lon­don Bridge. Chichester Fes­ti­val Theatre is housed in a Six­ties build­ing (with the smaller Min­erva nearby) and its first di­rec­tor was Sir Lau­rence Olivier.

The Chichester fes­ti­val runs from April to Septem­ber with an im­pres­sive pro­gramme rang­ing from con­tem­po­rary new works to clas­sics and mu­si­cals.

This year Ib­sen’s En­emy of the Peo­ple, adapted by Christo­pher Hamp­ton, di­rected by Howard Davies and star­ring Hugh Bon­neville, will be a crowd-puller.

An im­pres­sive town house (pictured left), with four bed­rooms and a stu­dio set in the walled gar­den, is be­ing sold by Jack­sonS­tops & Staff.

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