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New £5million arts centre/theatre The Exchange opens in SW London

Exchange foyer at night photo Sarah McKenna-Ayres
Exchange foyer at night photo Sarah McKenna-Ayres

A spectacular new £5m arts venue with a 300 seat theatre, six studio rooms, large conservatory area and café-bar has opened in Twickenham, South West London. The Exchange is a modern new build venue with state of the art facilities. It is situated opposite Twickenham Railway station and is set to provide a welcome cultural addition to the area.

With a unique programme mixing arts and science, The Exchange is positioning itself as a space for debate, critical thinking and the sharing of knowledge, focusing on the original, the contemporary and the thought-provoking. The initial programme features music, comedy, talks, spoken word and family shows. The venue also has film screening facilities and there are plans to introduce a regular programme of repertoire screenings.

Included in the launch season is a rare Q & A with artist Jeremy Deller, poetry from multi-award winner Luke Wright, and talks by author, broadcaster, and journalist Gary Younge and the always outspoken Germaine Greer. Music includes radical folk musician Nancy Kerr and singer-songwriter Chris Wood, whilst comedy kicks off with Shazia Mirza’s current hit With Love From St Tropez.

The Exchange is also hosting talks by historian David Starkey and physicist Helen Czerski, as well as a solo performance by actor Ian Hughes, all as part of the Richmond Literature Festival.

TV comedian Jason Manford will bring his comedy club to The Exchange next year. Jason set up an extensive comedy club network in the north of England to support up and coming comedians and showcase new talent. The Exchange will be his first club in the capital and will begin as a regular night in 2018. He said ‘It’s great that The Exchange is opening in Twickenham and we’re delighted to be bringing the Manford Comedy Club to London for the first time.’

Exchange - theatre space photo Sarah McKenna-Ayres
Exchange – theatre space photo Sarah McKenna-Ayres

Creative Director Stuart Hobday said ‘The ethos of The Exchange is to offer a welcoming cultural space focusing on creativity, expression, learning and enjoyment. We’ll be exploring the links between science and the arts to create our own unique place in the London’s arts scene.

As former Director of Norwich Arts Centre, founder of Norwich Science Festival and Events Manager at the Millennium Dome, Mr Hobday has the credentials to lead the venue and its dedicated team.

The opening of the venue has been welcomed by Amy Lamé, Night Czar for London. She said ‘The Mayor and I have
made developing the night-time economy a top priority so I’m delighted that this new arts centre is opening in
Twickenham. Great venues and theatre spaces are vital to a thriving night-time economy and culture. Good luck to The Exchange!

The Exchange will provide facilities for local people with spaces available for courses, meetings and other community use. The café-bar is open daily and the theatre bar opens on event nights.

The exciting venture is the fruit of a new partnership between The London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and St Mary’s University. Situated within the residential Brewery Wharf development on the site of a former Royal Mail sorting office the venue was developed for the Borough Council and is operated by St Mary’s. It further enhances the university’s links with the local community.

The building enjoys excellent transport links, situated directly opposite Twickenham train station with buses 110, 267, 281 and 681 all stopping nearby.

The Exchange is at 75 London Road, Twickenham, TW1 1BE directly opposite Twickenham overground station.

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