Teddington Theatre Club’s Artistic Director receives Richmond Community Heroes Award

Artistic Director, Lottie Walker has been recognised by Richmond Borough Council for her outstanding service as a volunteer at Teddington Theatre Club (TTC) and Hampton Hill Theatre.

Lottie has been an integral part of TTC for over 16 years, both as a performer, and in all aspects of backstage and theatre operations. For the past four years she has been Artistic Director of TTC, working with the Play Selection Committee to select productions for the season, secure the rights and frequently volunteering as the producer or artistic link on some of these shows.

Lottie said, "I was very pleased to receive the recognition especially at a time when things have been so difficult for the Arts and there's been not much good news to enjoy. I've been very fortunate to have a lot of support for our lockdown initiatives from the Board and members of TTC. I have always maintained that TTC itself is its people not its premises and this past year has proved that it really is a community. I hope everyone has enjoyed appearing in and watching or listening to our artistic efforts over the last 12 months as much as I enjoyed planning them."

Lottie contributes to all aspects of running a busy local community theatre including helping to manage front of house and audience experience. Her knowledge and commitment is second to none, and her friendly, warm and encouraging personality has supported many actors and directors to take their first steps in amateur theatre, and brought great success to the club with multiple local Swan Awards over the years. When TTCs home, Hampton Hill Theatre was closed last March, Lottie was determined that club members would still have the opportunity to be involved, recognising the value of the arts to bring people together, and the need for club members to meet online. She worked tirelessly to organise weekly Zoom play readings, helped members access the technology, and curated special events such as a VE Day commemoration which included reminiscence from club members and a 24 hour "Wilde Weekend" featuring the works of Oscar Wilde rehearsed on Zoom and published live on YouTube.

Alongside this Lottie has been at the forefront of interpreting the guidance for amateur theatre companies and their venues, helping TTC to understand what might be possible, adapting to the frequent changes, and helping to sustain the theatre until such time as it can reopen. All of this against the backdrop of maintaining her own professional theatre company, Blue Fire Theatre Company, during this very difficult year.

Daniel Wain, TTC member and Chair of the Play Selection Committee said, “The impact of the Covid 19 pandemic on theatre, including TTC, has been profound. Our source of social and artistic communion was abruptly switched off, replaced by distressing isolation. Thanks to Lottie’s unbounded energy, total commitment and unfailing good humour, TTC has responded with evermore-ambitious leaps of creativity and engagement. For much of the past year, I think we’ve all felt that we merely existed, rather than truly living. However, Lottie’s continual pro-activity has kept the spirit of TTC alive, helping our members and indeed the wider community feel connected, valued and entertained. As we now hope and plan for a return to the stage and theatre that we all love, Lottie has ensured that throughout our ‘dark days’, the TTC light has shone bright and the show has gone on.”

Richmond Community Heroes Awards recognise the contributions and achievements of local people towards making the borough a better place to live, work, visit and be educated.