The Oglesby Charitable Trust have gifted £1million to The Royal Exchange to build 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. The Den 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 took inspiration in both the Exchange’s Module theatre, how it connects artists and audiences and the secure, and the imaginative space of a child’s den.The Royal Exchange Theatre and the Oglesby family share a passion for progressing the arts, and encouraging original creative thinking.
The development of this new pop-up theatre has been inspired by the idea of de-growth. It is a sustainable space which creates the maximum amount of opportunity for creativity whilst always considering the minimum environmental impact. With a stripped back design this new theatre space will honour the essence of the found building, aiming for a genuine environmental and social equity between both spaces. With co-operation at its heart The Den will be constructed and operated with the residents of each community, they will help to raise the roof of this unique theatre space, become its ushers, its box office, its technical team and its audience.
Roger Watts, Director at Haworth Tompkins said: “We’re so pleased to be working with the Royal Exchange Theatre on this exciting and crucially important project. What attracted us to become involved was the chance to make architecture for our changing times: where communities are under pressure; where energy and resources are precious and where finding common ground across barriers of difference is essential. As architects, engineers, designers and theatre makers, we hope our team can rise to the challenge of creating a very-low carbon, super-lightweight, 180 seat portable auditorium that is capable of being built and dismantled by its audience.”
The Den will make its first appearance in Tameside this August in Stalybridge Civic Hall.