To create a world-class performing arts space on a historic ship in the old docks of Canary Wharf
This historic ship is typical of the trading vessels that once filled the docks of Canary Wharf. Returned to West India dock and converted into a new permanent theatre and performing arts space, it will contribute to the exciting new development of the area, while reflecting and preserving local history.
This space will support and celebrate a range of art forms: from western orchestral music to Bengali cinema; from classics of queer theatre to local contemporary art; from academic lectures to theatrical workshops for kids. Globally recognised artists will perform alongside local and underrepresented creatives, drawing new people to the area and engaging the existing community.
We envisage a piece of living history transformed into a vibrant community hub, hosting world-class live performances. Socially, culturally, and aesthetically the ship will act as a bridge between Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs, opening up a new public space that is live, living, and lively, for all.
Heritage: We seek to memorialise and revivify Canary Wharf’s heritage through the creation of a public arts space which bears witness to its history as a dockland.
Diversity: We are committed to developing an arts programme whose range and quality reflect the productive diversity of this location and its inhabitants.
Environment: The centre aims to enhance Canary Wharf’s environment, ecologically and socially, and serve as a beacon of sustainability.
Community: We seek to enhance the social, cultural and artistic life of the area, by creating a public arts venue which benefits local workers and residents, and attracts visitors from across London.
Accessibility: This project is committed to accessibility, both broadening access to the arts through our programming, outreach and education initiatives, and ensuring our space is as accessible as possible.
For the past ten years Inigo’s work has focussed on the restoration and repair of historic steel ships. He has overseen the full restoration of seven ships, including two on the National Historic Ships register. Consistently delivering marine restoration projects on time and under budget, Inigo is passionately committed to restoring the heritage of our waterways. Inigo will be taking lead on the safety, repair, and ongoing maintenance of the vessel. He'll be ensuring that our work remains grounded within the historic ecology of the docks.
Addditionally, Inigo works as a data scientist and AI developer, specialising in natural language analysis. His focus is on using technology to democratise decision making in large organisations. Organisations he's worked with include Danone, B-Corp, and Oxford University. With this experience, Inigo will be managing the data, feedback, and evaluation programme for the project.
Nat is a multi-BAFTA winning TV director & producer. Over her 25 year career she's produced some of the most significant shows in Britain, including the Apprentice, 24 hours in A&E, Great British Menu, Stacey Dooley investigates, & Fantastical Food with Heston Blumenthal.
Her new Netflix documentary series, Fertility Fraudster (working title), exploring the unregulated world of rogue sperm donation, is due for release next year.
Now making the transition from production to exhibition, Nat brings years of experience in film and TV to her role as head of film programming at Theatreship.
Karl Lutchmayer is equally renowned as a concert pianist and a lecturer. The first Steinway
Artist of Indian origin, Karl has performed across the globe and at all the major London
concert halls. A passionate advocate of contemporary music, he has given over 90 world
premieres. Karl held an academic
professorship for 15 years at Trinity Laban (formerly Trinity College of Music) in
Greenwich, where he was responsible for mentoring numerous music projects in the
For the last decade Karl has focussed much of his time and attention on nurturing the burgeoning Western Classical music scene in India, his family home. He now advises on education and outreach projects across the country, including as the Dean of Studies for the International Pre-College Music Programme, and the Director of Music for Musiquity. It was for this education work that he was awarded the Bharat Gaurav (Pride of India) Lifetime Achievement award in 2015 and the Indians of the World Medal in June 2022
Brian is a Professor of Theatre and Performance at Rose Bruford college. He's also their Programme Director for the BA in Theatre and Social Change
His approach to performance is characterised by the integration of intimate stories with grander public narratives, including about illness, technology, nationalism, economy, sexuality and identity, in an attempt to show unity across different experiences. His work has been shown internationally, in contexts from Harvard Medical School and the Sydney Opera House to the National Theatre (London) and the Lagos Theatre Festival.
He has been funded and commissioned by funding bodies including the Wellcome Trust, Jerwood Charitable Foundation, British Council, motiroti, LMCC and Arts Council England.
Brian is also a Wellcome Trust Public Engagement Fellow and the co-founder of The Sick of the Fringe.
Adam has experience as both an environmental consultant, and as a researcher in Environmental Science at the University at Oxford. His roles have included advising the government department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and leading the environmental strategy for a number of ship renovation projects. He is setting the agenda for our environmental commitments, and working to ensure environmental considerations run through the whole project. Adam will be responsible for the environmental design of the space and monitoring its ecological impact.
Additionally, having both convened Masters level classes at Oxford, and worked professionally as a marine carpenter for a number of years, Adam brings a unique unified approach to education. Adam will be managing our volunteer team, and providing an education programme where practical and theoretical knowledge is taught side by side.
Max is a theatrical sound designer, engineer and acoustics/systems consultant specialising in immersive and unusual projects.
Recent theatre sound design credits include: PS. I’m A Terrible Person (Cockpit Theatre) The
Noise Boys (Peterborough, Edinburgh), Club Mex (The Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester),
The Choir of Man (Edinburgh, USA), Cereal Café (The Other Palace, London), and
Gobsmacked! (China, USA).
His work has taken him to India, China, Israel, the USA, and much of Europe, as well as major venues and festivals abroad and in the UK, including the Royal Albert Hall and Leeds Arena. Most recently he designed and implemented the physical systems for the critically acclaimed 'Longplayer' audio installation in Coventry Cemetery, as part of Coventry's City of Culture festival in 2021.
In this project he'll be supervising the audio and technical aspects of the theatre space.
Built in 1913, the ship was one of the sailing cargo barges that once filled London's docks. Transporting bulk dry cargoes like grain and coal from europe right into the heart of London.
Once a common sight in London's docks, the rise of containerisation in the 1960s moved shipping out of central London and lead to the eventual dereliction of the old docks.
With a riveted steel hull, and classic sweeping lines, the ship speaks to a different age of shipping.
As shipping evolved, so did the ship. With life-extending modifications to her hull and superstructure, she spent over 110 years in continuous service, trading bulk dry cargo around the port cities of Northern Europe.
Now, returning to West India Dock and converted to a performing arts theatre, she continues to serve the needs of the Docklands communities, as she always has.
The ship will become a new public space, reflecting the rich history of the docks, while looking forwards to a future of live events and lively community.
The ship features a spacious exhibition space on the upper deck, a characterful community café bar on the lower deck, and a 110 seat theatre & cinema space in the old cargo hold. We can't wait to invite you onboard.
The Ship is moored on the Millwall cutting. This is a convenient location, just 30 second walk from the South Quay DLR and a 5 minutes walk from Canary Wharf Jubilee line.
We are moored on the new Arts and Heritage Berth, alongside other ships of public or historic interest, including Artship and Tugboat Addie, the last surviving British Waterways steam tug.
The Theatreship project is built on skilled and motivated people coming together and learning from each other. So naturally, skill-sharing is at the heart of what we do. We believe strongly that there should be no barrier to learning new skills, and that no existing skill set or ability prevents you from learning new, unfamiliar ones.
This is why we are always looking for volunteers to get involved with us. Maybe you have particular skills you think could contribute, such as in theatre, production, construction or boat maintenance? Maybe you just want to learn something completely new? We’d love to hear from you!
If you fancy getting involved, then simply click below to sign up and we’ll get back to you.