The Den, Royal Exchange Theatre, UK

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The Den is the Royal Exchange’s brand-new pop-up theatre, designed by Haworth Tompkins. The venue is described as a “space-within-a-space, a creative hub where people can share, learn and make.” The new venue is part of Local Exchange – which sees the Royal Exchange Theatre resident in communities across Greater Manchester.

The Den was initially constructed at the Stalybridge Civic Hall in Greater Manchester but will be moving from venue to venue soon, taking with it a variety of excellent performances.

For the project, J&C Joel was asked by the Royal Exchange Theatre Company Ltd to help construct the space using their innovative Drapery Solutions and Track services.

After careful consideration, natural Scene and Artist Canvas (CAN009) was selected as the most appropriate fabric for the venue. The durable, heavy Canvas was perfect for the flat drapes required, providing an excellent projection surface and the colour of the fabric natural gave the venue a rustic, authentic appearance.

J&C Joel started by supplying drapes that would form the ceiling and walls of the pop-up theatre. Overall, 16 drapery panels were provided to form the venue’s roof and 3 drapery panels, measuring an astounding 16.58m wide and 3.73m drop each, formed the venue’s walls.

The wall drapes were attached to Triple E 2Way track, which J&C Joel provided, to allow the drapes to be manually pulled opened and closed with ease, forming an entrance and exit for the audience. Finally, the Royal Exchange company logo was projected upon the drapes.

Along with this, J&C Joel manufactured 245 seat covers from recycled Wool, which provided the audience with comfort and again highlight the authentic, natural appeal of the theatre.

Ben Strachan, J&C Joel’s Sales Executive, was invited to attend The Den’s opening night, he commented: “It was great to see the job in its final stage. The event was attended by the local Mayor, MP’s and community groups that will be using the venue for the next 2 weeks. It was a privilege to be thanked personally by Simon Curtis, Head of Production at the Royal Exchange, for the excellent patience and communication he received throughout the project from myself and the entire team at J&C Joel.

The Den was a huge success and the work speaks for itself.”