1 – 17 July 2018
Tell me a bit about the OSO.
OSO Arts Centre is a theatre in the heart of the Barnes community, with a cafe overlooking Barnes Pond. The building has been around for a long time and has an established history of providing arts opportunities for local people. Over the past few years we’ve been able to get funding the development the building further, and now have a fit-for-purpose black box theatre space, as well as a light, welcoming cafe with freshly made lunches every day.
Tell me what you do?
We put on a huge variety of arts events – ranging from evening shows, including plays, comedy, talks, interviews, and entertainment, to large scale fundraising events, such as our most recent Breakfast and Tiffany’s themed ball! Some of the theatre companies who join us are local, as well as some fantastic companies from across London or those stopping off during a nationwide tour.
In the day, the OSO is all about the local community – hosting dance classes, art classes and art exhibitions. We also hire the space out for private events so there’s always a lot going on!
Who uses the OSO?
The Café is filled with young families and locals in the day times, with classes for both adults and children. In the evenings the OSO draws in people from far and wide to experience shows, or just to have a drink in the bar by the pond. Most importantly it is the community’s cultural centre and a place where people from Richmond can see theatre right on their doorstep, and maybe even get involved.
Tell us about how you help the community?
Aside from being a space for locals to enjoy watching shows, we also focus on supporting new talent, by creating opportunities for anyone to get involved with the OSO. For example, our new writing scratch night ‘Dispatches’, in which 7 short plays are performed as an opportunity for new writers to present their work and get feedback from the audience.
What are the challenges of the OSO?
One of our challenges is getting more and more people to know we’re here. Our location on Barnes Green is gorgeous, but does mean we are a little tucked away. Part of that is also letting people know the huge range of events we have going on- whether they are looking for a community hub as a place to engage with the arts, or somewhere for a good quality night out, we’ve got it!
Also for more northern or central Londoners looking to see some fringe theatre, they might not think about coming south of the river to Barnes. However we’re only 15 minutes from Clapham Junction, and easily accessible from Waterloo so that’s the message we’re trying to spread.
What have you got coming up next?
We have a Barnes Fringe from the 1st-14th July, presenting comedians, plays, talks and all sorts. It is an exciting atmosphere to enjoy a whole range of shows! Our Autumn 2018 season will be announced shortly, so do head over to our website or pop into the OSO to find out more. You can also join our mailing list via the website so you can hear what’s going on first!
OSO Arts Centre is located at 49 Station Road, Barnes, SW13 0LF. The entrance is around the back of the building, and looks out across Barnes Green and Pond.