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Newbury Corn Exchange launches raft of online creative activities during coronavirus closure

Aim to keep people connected

Trish Lee

trish lee


01635 886663

corn exchange

picture by Adam Hillier

From Tuesday, March 24 the Corn Exchange Newbury is releasing a series of online sessions for all ages that will offer support to keep communities creative and connected. 

Last Tuesday the Corn Exchange Newbury, along with many other theatres and arts centres across the country, closed its doors to the public amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As the charity is currently unable to deliver its usual programme of live performances, film, classes and workshops, it has been exploring other ways in which it can help the community engage in creative activity.

The arts centre has announced a series of online sessions to keep audiences creative and connected during this unprecedented time of closure. Including vlogs, remote sessions and project packs, the aim is support home schooling as well as giving people of all ages the opportunity to keep being creative and perhaps learn a new skill whilst staying in. 

Starting from Tuesday 24 March, new material will be released via the website and social media channels with weekly programmes available in advance. Kick-starting this initiative is a free online version of the popular Rhyme and Shine workshops on Tuesday at 10.15am, with all places now full for this session. Other sessions this week include a series of pre-recorded videos on Shakespeare aimed at Year 9, GCSE and A-level students, connecting remotely with care homes, and the opportunity for adults to continue with their skills in painting in an arts skills video. Pre-recorded content will be available from the homepage of the website.

The Corn Exchange is also continuing its popular book swap and from this week there will be an exchange point outside the front of the building where local residents can keep up their reading by swapping an unwanted book for a different one.

Corn Exchange director Katy Griffiths said: ‘We recognise just how important the role of the Corn Exchange is as a space for people to come and connect with each other and with creative activity. Without the ability to do this in person, it feels right to reach out to support both our cultural and local communities and find new ways of bringing people together.’

The Corn Exchange is also offering those who don’t have access to the internet the chance to engage and is asking friends and families to nominate them by e-mailing They will then be contacted by phone or post with activities. Suggestions for future online sessions can also be sent to this email address.

The Corn Exchange Newbury is also calling out to arts professionals with the chance to apply for one of five £1000 commissions to create a piece of work that can be presented in a format that people can enjoy remotely. This call out goes out to artists working in any art form, and applicants should consider projects that tackle current challenges such as parents who have to home school their children, the importance of keeping socially connected, advocating for the arts as an essential part of society and celebrating key workers. Proposals and project ideas must be no longer than one side of A4 and should be sent to the Corn Exchange Newbury by email to by Monday, March 30 at 10am.

All the latest information on the current closure of the Corn Exchange Newbury, as well as the planned online activities and details about the commission opportunity, can be found online at


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