Spring Update

Hello! We hope everyone is well and looking forward to a gradual return to normal activities. As developments are happening in the building, we thought it would be a good time to do a Spring update. 

Last week we said goodbye to Susan Coffer who has been the Centre Manager for the last couple of years.  On behalf of Trustees, staff and volunteers, I would like to thank Susan for the passion for the Arts that she brought to The Witham and we all wish her well in her future adventures.

We are really excited that from Wednesday (31st March) we will be restarting our take-away café service. Opening for 11 continuous days, we’ll be able to provide you with teas, coffees and cakes over the Easter holiday period.  The café team (supported by volunteers) is looking forward to opening our doors and welcoming you back.

In line with current government guidance, we plan to offer table service in the garden from the 14th April and have been busy getting this area ready for the summer months ahead.  Roger Peat, together with other volunteers, has started gardening and painting furniture and we have invested in new outdoor tables and chairs to increase the seating capacity in a Covid-secure environment.

Assuming that government restriction dates remain as planned, Marilyn Normanton, our volunteer shop manager, also intends to open on 14th April. There will be a new collection of scarves and toys, as well as the ever-popular stock of glass animals and birds. More stock is on its way as we write – probably in a queue in Suez. Do pop in and say hello and keep an eye open for the new stock arriving! We’re also the Visitor information point and look forward to helping visitors with their queries so they can make the most of what Teesdale has to offer.

Our youth theatre group ‘Turrets’ resumes on the 14th April and it will be great to have our young friends back in the building. The Juniors have spent the last months creating a new script and play, that explores their experiences of lockdown and the Senior group has been selected as part of a small cohort of youth theatres from across the UK to collaborate with London-based professional youth theatre Company Three. 

On the same date, Meditation classes restart and we hope to see some new faces there as well as familiar ones. Sessions are £5 on Thursdays and do feel free to drop in, no booking necessary. If you’d like more information, get in touch using [email protected] or by calling 01325 365265.

The Witham is passionate about supporting the health and wellbeing of the community and ManHealth will continue to meet in the building every Wednesday evening. This group has met throughout lockdown and is a great community resource. If you would like more info about this, please get in touch using [email protected]. Do check out our ‘workshops & classes’ for more info.

A limited number of tickets are already on sale for events in the music hall. These can all be found in the ‘What’s On’ section of the website. Do take a look and book early – we think shows will be popular, so don’t miss out! (Shows pre-July will be socially distanced with the aspiration of normal seating capacity in the second half of the year.)

We are also thrilled that our gallery is getting up and going again. We already have two exhibitions planned this Summer, with various others in the pipeline for later in the year. Simon Pell’s exhibition will be from 19th May – 12th June, and Gill Kopka, 16th June – 13th July. More info can be found on our current exhibitions page.

Wideyed (an arts collective based in the North East) has been working on a distanced photography project with isolated people in care homes and the community throughout County Durham, exploring their experiences through the pandemic. They would like to recruit around 5 more people for the project from the Teesdale area and they are looking for people who live alone, are elderly and/or shielding. They will deliver a project pack that includes a disposable camera and then provide support to make images for an exhibition.  If you think this interests you or somebody you know, get in touch via [email protected].  In due course, we’re hoping that they will exhibit the images here at The Witham.

We hope this update brings you something to look forward to in the coming months. We can’t wait to gradually get things back to normal and welcome you back into the building.