Friday, 12 July 2019

Jealousy, separation and reunion - The Winter's Tale, Changeling Theatre, Woolwich

"On a glorious summer’s evening Changeling Theatre used a stunning outdoor setting in Woolwich  for a production of The Winter’s Tale, Shakespeare’s tale of jealously, grace, reunion and reconciliation.

The evocative bombed-out ruin of St George's Garrison Church and an introductory soundtrack of German electronica set the militaristic tone of the first half of the play as Leontes (Scott Ellis), the jealous king of Sicilia, accuses his loyal pregnant wife Hermione (Jess Nesling) of infidelity with his best friend Polixenes (Nicholas Masters-Waage), king of Bohemia. ..."

Read the rest of my review at The Greenwich Visitor of this 2 July 2019 performance:

A Winter’s Tale by the Changeling Theatre Company went on to be performed at various venues throughout the summer.

See my review of the 2018 outdoor staging of Hamlet at nearby Severndroog Castle in Oxleas Wood, London SE18.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Age Exchange: Blackheath’s community space for a coffee, a read and an activity

Where can you find a library, a café, a bijou shabby-chic garden, enjoy arts and fitness classes and take part in supporting older carers and people with dementia?  The answer is the Age Exchange in Blackheath.

Invited to have a look around, I visited on the last of this February’s ‘mini-Spring’ days, with my long-time friend, Maureen (yes, I’ve known her since I was 19 – she knows things…)

Entering Age Exchange, in Blackheath village’s high street opposite the train station, is like going into a tardis. The outside of the small shop front belies the range of varied well-arranged spaces and activities which open out inside, making the most of the space.

You can browse the community-run library in the basement, jump on the internet, have a coffee and a bite in the not-for-profit café (from a lovely choice – where else on Blackheath can you get a green tea for £1.50?), join one of the many activities on offer from yoga, to stitching to creative caring.

Age Exchange’s mission is to change lives through reminiscence, improving health and wellbeing. The patrons of this community-run charity include Roy Hudd OBE, Glenda Jackson MP, Rt. Hon. Nick Raynsford, Sir Sigmund Sternberg KCSG and JP Baroness Greengross OBE. The Exchange aims to reduce isolation and loneliness, promote intergenerational understanding, improve the quality of life and care for older people and those with dementia and to support carers to maintain their own health and wellbeing.


The inspirational Gemma, volunteer and Community Hub Manager, showed us around some of the centre’s other spaces including The Bakehouse Theatre (beyond the café garden) which is available to hire for meetings, training events, presentations, talks, rehearsals, and small-scale performances.

Clearly enthused by their work, Gemma also told us about the wonderful art displayed which produced by people with dementia.

‘Tree of Love’ created by Wednesday Artful Caring participants.
Age Exchange is a real gem of a place; it’s heartfelt and real - a great find in high streets too often dominated by sterile chains– I think we’ll be back soon.