I’ve been to three events in Merton Arts Space in the course of ten days – all very different, demonstrating the role this space plays in the community.
Firstly, on 4 October, was the launch of Wimbledon’s 2018 Bookfest – an evening with the author Lionel Shriver. The event was managed by the Bookfest team alongside staff and volunteers from the library service. Over 200 people attended to hear the author of We Need to Talk about Kevin (plus many others) in conversation with Samira Ahmed, who conducted the interview very adeptly. Bookfest has become a key part of Wimbledon life, and it’s great that the library service has such a fantastic space to host the launch event each year.
The second event, on 12 October, was a performance of a play by the Attic Theatre Company, The Rebellious Women of Wimbledon, which tells the story of Wimbledon resident and suffragette, Rose Lamartine Yates. It was simply staged in the round, but very successfully conveyed the intelligence, wit and determination of local women to fight for their right to vote and have a voice in society. Attic Theatre is a local, professional theatre group, and has performed in Merton Arts Space each year since it opened.
The final event was part of Libraries Week which took place between the 8–13 October to celebrate the nation’s much-loved libraries. This year, with a focus on wellbeing; libraries across the country showcased how they bring communities together, helping to combat loneliness, and provide a space for reading and creativity. Wimbledon Library ended its 2018 programme with a showing of the film The Greatest Showman, using the Arts Space as a cinema.
So, three very different events in this versatile space. It is very special to have a library service that can place such a key role in the cultural life of our borough.
Written by Jackie Chapman, Volunteer, WCA Board Secretary