Like thousands of towns and communities throughout the country, Trowbridge is gradually coming back to life after lockdown, and on Saturday August 1st, Trowbridge Town Hall will once again open its doors, with a range of community projects planned to raise the town’s cultural profile. As might be expected, things will look a little different inside the town centre building, and not only because of directional signs, hand sanitising facilities and social distancing measures in place.
The cafe, which has been running from the building’s front steps during lockdown, is moving back inside to the ground floor location of the former court room, which has been revamped. The lobby and cafe will also open on Friday and Saturday evenings, inviting people to enjoy a drink and also, occasional live music – once this is permitted.
“Our first priority will be to reopen the Zero Waste shop, bookshop and art supplies shop,” explained Town Hall director David Lockwood.
“The gallery space will also be open upstairs, and our first exhibition will consist of artwork created by Trowbridge people during lockdown – and we’re inviting local people to submit their work.”
Jen Hamblin, exhibition curator, explained: “When lockdown happened, many things froze. The creativity celebrated in places like the Town Hall went into people’s homes. It was as if the restrictions encouraged us to create. Rainbows filled windows, people sang songs on zoom, and new creative skills were discovered and learned. So when it came to reopening the Town Hall, it was obvious to us what should go in our first exhibition. We want to shine a light on all of the fantastic work made over the last few months.
“You can share anything. A crochet blanket, a wood carving, things that don’t quite hang on a wall? We’ll also make space for photographs, so if you’ve baked a cake of which you’re particularly proud or a garden that looks better than it ever has, send them our way.” (You can share your work – including a sentence or two on what it means to you – by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.)
David Lockwood added “We’re also going to run a community project creating a ‘Song for Trowbridge’, celebrating what people love most about the town. Sadly we’re not allowed to sing in the building yet, so we’ll have it filmed and broadcast. We’ll also stage more events throughout the remainder of the summer and autumn where we are allowed to do so.”
The reopening announcement comes in the same week that Wiltshire Council backed an ambitious bid for £23m of government cash to replan Trowbridge – and David feels that the Town Hall’s future is a key part of the town.
“Things are not going to go back to how they were,” he said. “It’s important that we are part of making Trowbridge move forward, we’ve seen a decade’s change in months.”
At the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, the Town Hall received £35,000 in the first round of Arts Council grants to help organisations survive lockdown.