The Exchange theatre has been the heartbeat of Twickenham’s creative arts scene since its debut in 2017 as a collaboration between Richmond Council and St Mary’s University. The venue has gone on to host a multitude of community events, from comedy nights to young people’s performing arts classes.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, for over a year the seats were left empty, the stage stood gathering dust, and the function rooms longed for the sound of laughter. Now, over fifteen months since the UK entered its first lockdown, the Exchange is eager to increase its engagement with the local community and is more than ready to make up for lost time.
Catherine Graham, Manager of the Exchange, says the venue would like to see an increase in community groups, and is hoping to host a relaunching event in the autumn, centring around community artwork produced in the past two years. Catherine also states the Exchange will ‘continue to work with local schools, charities and businesses to facilitate their events,’ in the hopes this will help to increase their ever-growing presence in the local community.
In the coming months, the Exchange is also looking to begin hosting regular music events, with the venue being keen to ‘create a closer partnership with the team at Eel Pie’, well known for its musical roots, alongside beginning to engage with a local music producer to increase artist diversity. The prospect of a growing live music scene is one which will undoubtedly excite many, especially after being deprived of the joys of live music events for so long.
Since restrictions began to ease back in April, the Exchange has worked extremely hard to restore its well-earned place as an essential, and greatly respected, contributor to the Twickenham arts scene. Staff are looking forward to finally staging performances like Story Storks’ production of The Three Little Pigs, which was initially scheduled for December 2020 and then April 2021, before being pushed back once more. Organisers are hoping that third time’s a charm, with the pigs set to finally perform to a live audience from the 29th July-1st August this year.
And if all of that doesn’t excite you enough, the venue is keen to inform the community that there will be many more exciting events and performances forthcoming, so keep your eyes peeled on their website for updates on future events!
Words: Chrissie Joslin