You’ve probably seen this building loads of times. Perhaps you walk past it every day on your way to the station. Maybe you’ve even pondered on how it’s possible to put so much scaffolding against one single structure? But what exactly is it?
Why, it’s the new ‘community and cultural building’ for Twickenham of course! It’s part of the large Brewery Wharf development that’s going up on the old Royal Mail sorting office site. It’s a big site and will include over one hundred new flats and houses with a very light sprinkling of shared ownership homes too. Part of the deal for the development was for some kind of community building that would benefit the town. It’s not a bad idea even if, according to us here at twickerati HQ, it’s in the wrong place. Wouldn’t it be better located right, slap bang in the town centre, possibly even as part of the Twickenham riverside development? We think so, but what do we know. Anywayyyyy…
The building will house a live performance space which will seat up to 320 people. Think theatre, films and, more boringly, conferences and rooms for hire. Will it work? We hope so. Building work is drawing towards completion but, as far as we understand it here at twickerati HQ, the Council has yet to do the ‘big reveal’ and announce who is actually going to run the place. It’s likely to be some kind of ‘partner organisation’ (i.e. for that read ‘anyone but the Council itself’) and that means there’s still some variability in how things might play out.
In an announcement last autumn, Council Supremo, Sir Lord True aka The Blue Baron of Sheen said, “This new building will bring more entertainment to people of all ages in the borough, giving arts and culture a welcome boost. It will also be a venue for the annual Music and Drama Festival”. Sounds good.
Perhaps there’s scope for the Twickenham Theatre to move in after their short tenure on London Road where The Shack 68 now is? Meanwhile, one group that definitely wants to get a look in is the Twickenham Cinema Club who have been tweeting about running a community focused cinema club there showing the sort of films that people, people like you, might actually want to see: film noir double bills, Hollywood and British classics, foreign films (but not the mucky sort obviously) and probably Get Carter or Star Wars (just the good ones of course). You get the idea and we have to say that we like the cut of their jib. What does all this mean? Well, it means that whoever takes over the running of this building is going to have a challenge of making it financially viable whilst also being responsive to what the local community actually want to see. Good luck to ’em.
Meanwhile there’s some agitation on Facebook over a new path that’s being created as part of the Brewery Wharf site taking out a wooded area beside the River Crane. You can read more about that on FB here.
With all the heated debate taking place about the town square and the riverside, one key question has remained unanswered on twickerati until now, namely: What would you like to see happening with this building? Over to you, you culture vultures.