A Primrose Hill actress opened a retro ice cream shop on New Year's Day to support the struggling theatre industry.

Owner Sirine Saba has lived above the shop on Erskine Road, which previously housed clothes store Melanie Press, for ten years with her husband and two children.

In March the actor was out of work, after rehearsals at the Royal Court theatre ceased during the first lockdown, and used family savings to open the shop - Reenie's.

Ms Saba said: “We needed an income, but I also wanted to do something that’s going to bring happiness and joy. I thought: ‘What can I do to help all my theatre freelancer friends who aren’t working like me?’

“This whole place, apart from the plumbing, has been put together by freelance theatre workers.”

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Theatre designer Richard Kent helped to design the retro store, complete with bar stools and a working fireplace, which Ms Saba called "the set of our dreams", and props mistress Lizzie Frankl designed the shop’s sign and logo.

“My pledge is it will support the freelance theatre community as much, and for as long, as it possibly can,” she added.

The shop's planned October opening was delayed multiple times, but it now stocks artisan ice cream handmade by a friend in Muswell Hill, and three vegan flavours. The store is currently open for takeaways.

Ms Saba said people had nostalgic memories of going for ice cream when they were children, and the shop gives families something to look forward to after homeschooling.

%image(15166988, type="article-full", alt="Some of the ice creams on sale")

“Somebody told me way back it was a sweet shop, which makes me feel really happy because it makes me feel like I’m continuing a sweet bloodline,” she said.

“I felt really strongly that this space needed to be used in some way. The community around here grouped together every week to make food, my children baked 200 cakes for the Oldfield Estate.

“I feel like I did the right thing, and I opened at the right time, and I’m proud but also appreciate how lucky I am to be able to do this.”

For more information visit Reenie's Instagram @reeniesicecreambar.

%image(15071717, type="article-full", alt="The store has a retro style")