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Merry Christmas and 2017 highlights

2017 has been a typically busy year for the Space,  packed with stunning performances and we’ve celebrated births, marriages and anniversaries. We’ve got so much to be grateful for, lots to be proud of and countless people to thank.

We kicked off the year with the One Festival, our annual showcase of solo performances. 5 programmes of work, 3 weeks of shows and over 50 artists delivering unforgettable performances. What we love about the One Festival is that it really is a case of expecting the unexpected. I certainly didn’t expect my son, Otis Andrew Hemming, to arrive a week early in the final weekend of the festival (thank you to Keri and Isabel for picking up my slack!).

What followed was a packed spring season including Nigel Fairs return to the Space with the intelligent, witty and deeply moving ‘Ebeneezer and Me’, directed by Louise Jameson. Spring also saw big changes for the Space team as Theatre Manager Keri became Mrs Mason when she married Tom in April and, after 4 years at the Space, Isabel left us to become Marketing Manager for the Pleasance.

Then it was summer and we packed in 20 different   performances at the Space alone. We were particularly excited to welcome trailblazing director Sue Dunderdale and Head for Heights as they presented the UK premiere of Juan Radrigan’s ‘Mad Man Sad Woman’. Other summer highlights included; the hilarious double bill of ‘The Trial of Le Singe’ by the Heretical Historians and ‘Grab ‘em by the Pussy’ by Caroline Buckley, and the magical romp, ‘Elixir’ by Christy Hawkins. Our championing of female-led work continued as three exciting new companies, Volta, Wonderbox and Filthy Cow produced some excellent work, delighting audiences and critics.

Of course a Space summer wouldn’t be complete without the Crossrail Place Roof Garden performance space which presented the work of 22 different artists and companies as part of the Early and Late Bloom community arts festivals, and all for free. July and August also saw the long-awaited return of ScriptSpace, our development and feedback service for playwrights and we want to say a huge thank you to all of our readers, especially Mike Carter and Alison Porter, for their support.

And the hits kept on coming into our Autumn/Winter Season! Metal Rabbit Productions ‘The White Bike’ by Tamara Von Werthern attracted packed houses and stunned the reviewers. A perfect storm of excellent writing, acting and direction allied with superb sound, lighting, set and costume made this an easy pick as our ‘Visiting Show of the Year’. Box office staff quickly became accustomed to handing out tissues for teary audiences at the end of the show.

The ‘Bums on Seats’ award goes to our very own Space Productions for ‘The Castle’ by Howard Barker which had the highest audience total of 2017. Described in the press as ‘a beautifully constructed production’, ‘a triumph’ and ‘the grandest, most epic fringe show I’ve ever seen’, it was a joy to direct the incredibly talented ensemble. Just too hard for us to pick one, the entire cast of The Castle, therefore, are given our ‘Performer(s) of the Year’ award.

To round off the year, we were delighted to welcome back; C-12 Dance Theatre with the 6th ‘Emerge Festival’, the Season of Bangla Drama with ‘Sold’ by Showmi Das, and the London Docklands Singers with their carol concert. Finally, we ended 2017 in style with a sparkling Christmas Cabaret in aid of our house lights fundraising campaign. A huge thank you to the Events Management team for their tireless organising and the raffle donors/buyers and performers for all their heart-warming contributions.

None of the above would have been possible without the support of our dedicated volunteer team and we want to thank them all for their patience, enthusiasm and hard work over the last 12 months. In particular, Nina Nevoa Tavares. Nina joined the Space on an internship and very quickly became an invaluable member of the team. Although she returned to Portugal in August, her efforts are still being hugely appreciated and her presence missed. It’s no surprise then that Nina wins our Volunteer of the Year award!

In other news, we were thrilled to welcome Grace Chapman to the team as our Theatre Manager in June. A talented playwright, Grace brings a world of experience from her time with Idle Motion Theatre Company. Whether it’s writing funding applications, climbing ladders to finally get those ropes down from The Lighthouse or leading on our production and marketing plans, Grace brings bags of enthusiasm, a can-do attitude and insightful intelligence. The stress-free process of staging ‘The Castle’ and our rising audience numbers are testament to the work she’s done so far.

And finally, I don’t have room (I’ve probably gone on a bit too long as it is…) to thank or mention all those that deserve it – a huge number of people, staff, trustees, volunteers, performers, artists, funders, audience members, press, participants and workshop tutors who have contributed to making 2017 such a great year for the Space. Your work and dedication never goes unnoticed.

Looking ahead to 2018 we have a brilliant spring season lined up featuring true stories, unsolved mysteries and history’s greatest horror story. Click here to find out more (psst tickets for ALL SHOWS are currently 25% OFF!)

We thank you all and wish everybody a very, merry Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous new year.
Adam Hemming


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