The Den: Royal Exchange’s new £1m pop-up theatre

The Royal Exchange Theatre has been gifted £1m by The Oglesby Charitable Trust which has enabled the development of The Den – a new pop-up theatre space designed by award-winning architects Haworth Tompkins.

The Den is part of the theatre’s newest strand of work Local Exchange which makes space to explore how the relationship between people, places and artists can shape the future work that the Royal Exchange Theatre makes.

It has been designed as an informal space for residents to make and share theatre and to see work from the Royal Exchange. The team at Haworth Tompkins – including Steve Tompkins and Roger Watts, along with Chris Wise (Expedition) and Charley Brentnall (Xylotek) have found inspiration in both the Exchange’s Module theatre, how it connects artists and audiences and the secure, imaginative space of a child’s den.

Local Exchange is a pioneering, long-term and ambitious series of residencies designed to reframe the way the Royal Exchange makes work with, by and for the people of Greater Manchester. It has been developed to create long-lasting and sustainable relationships between communities and artists.

The Royal Exchange Theatre and the Oglesby family share a passion for progressing the arts, and encouraging original creative thinking. The family have long supported the work of the theatre not only through generous gifts and sponsorship but also as audience members, spokespeople and champions.

Michael Oglesby and Kate Vokes, Trustees of the Oglesby Charitable Trust said: “Philanthropic gifts can often provide the space to innovate and take risks, we have found that this results in some truly ground-breaking projects with real and lasting impact.

“We were incredibly impressed by the breadth and depth of LOCAL EXCHANGE as an original and insightful way to develop sustained relationships with the communities of Greater Manchester. We are delighted to support the growth of this very exciting project for Greater Manchester.”

The Den is a fundamental part of a much bigger programme of work known as LOCAL EXCHANGE, a series of bespoke, long-term residencies that take place across the Greater Manchester boroughs.

Each residency will last for three years and will be designed to respond to the cultural ambitions of each specific community.

The project begins with the development of relationships with local partners such as Councils, Housing Associations and Arts Organisations and the formation of a local ambassador group that will work closely with the Exchange throughout the residency.

TNT Theatre

Photo Credit: Royal Exchange Theatre

 

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