Q2 Players, Kew’s only amateur theatre group, was on the brink of disbanding last month, until they were spectacularly rescued by an unusual saviour – The National Archives.
The group has quite a history, having been performing in the borough for nearly fifty years. During this time they have staged a wide variety of plays, ranging from Dickens to Tolstoy to Terry Pratchett, bringing affordable and accessible theatre to the residents of Kew. Originally known as the Nondescripts, they first performed in St. Anne’s church hall, then moved on to St. Luke’s church hall, both of which have now been repurposed as private homes. Q2 Players and Richmond Arts Club then joined forces in the Methodist Hall, Kew Road (now private flats) and later moved on to the Barn Church Hall.
For the last thirty years their biannual productions have been staged in the Alexandra Hall of St. Luke’s Church in The Avenue, in friendly partnership with the Kew Community Trust, until recently headed by David Polya. However, following Mr. Polya’s retirement, significant increases in the hall hire fees left them facing the bleak prospect of having to move out of Kew – or even close the group down permanently.
With time and options running out, they decided to approach The National Archives for help. The National Archives had recently opened a brand new and very smart Events Space which is ideal for Q2 Players’ productions; however, with the theatre group’s limited funds, they held out little hope of being able to afford to hire it. Nevertheless, they put their case to The National Archives’ Venue Management and Services team, who offered them their support. The team devised an arrangement which will enable Q2 Players to not only perform in the Events Space twice a year, but also to be involved in and support The National Archives in their regular exhibitions and events.
Harriet Muir, Chair of Q2 Players said: You can imagine our elation when at crisis point, with Q2 Players facing moving out of Kew or closing down altogether, The National Archives stepped in with enthusiastic support to provide us not only with a new venue for our shows, but also the potential for exciting collaborative events. We are extremely grateful to Lee and the team, and we look forward to a happy and inspiring future with them.
Lee Oliver, Head of Venue Management and Services at The National Archives said:
We are very pleased to be able to offer this venue to the Q2 Players for their upcoming shows. We look forward to working with them in the future and inviting their audiences into The National Archives.
The happy and community-spirited collaboration will begin on 18 May, when Q2 Players will be involved in the Archives At Night event “Law Breakers and Law Makers”, charting the course of the suffrage movement. Q2 Players’ next full production, Three Bags Full by Jerome Chodorov, will also be staged in the Events Space at The National Archives, from 22 to the 24 November.