About Us

Situated within the grounds of a stunning Grade II listed building in North Tyneside, The Exchange is an all-inclusive, unique destination which aims to offer world-class services and facilities. As a registered charity our vision is to support arts, culture and creativity by delivering an inspirational environment where skills and knowledge can grow. We actively engage with companies and individuals to help them develop personally and professionally and stay connected. We bring together like-minded people whilst promoting a diverse mix of arts and culture. Our mission is to make the arts accessible to all. If you would like to get involved please get in touch as we are always welcoming volunteers for a range of activities.


Our Values

World Class: Our aim is to be the very best we can be in every aspect of our operation and to ensure those who work with us aspire to a similar goal. This world-class value will be incorporated from our point of service to the products we provide and the people we work with. Whilst we may not be world class today, we will be tomorrow.

Networked: We will include all organisations and individuals involved in the arts and cultural sector. We will support all of the creative companies who work with us, by providing an inspirational environment in which they can work and network to expand their skills and knowledge. In addition, we will actively engage with these companies, and also individuals, to help them stay connected and grow.

Local First: In everything we do it is about our local community first – engaging and providing a better life for those that live or work in North Tyneside.


110 Free Child Places -Nov 2018

Robson GreenWe are immensely proud to be able to offer free spaces at our youth theatre programmes, thanks to support from supply chain management firm,  The NBT Group.

To kick off its 110th year, The NBT Group will sponsor 110 places on The Exchange’s youth programmes in a bid to ensure that access to the arts shouldn’t be privilege, but a right.  The opportunity will offer young people the chance to grow and improve their confidence in an all-inclusive, encouraging environment.

Eligible for those in receipt of free school meals or families entitled to Working Tax Credits, the sponsored places will cover all aspects of theatre performance to suit the individual youth’s interests, across acting, singing and dancing.

To mark the launch of the event, existing members of our youth programmes joined local actor and presenter Robson Green, as he showed his support for arts and culture in the region and the opportunities that the sponsored places will bring to young people in the North East.

We run a variety of weekly sessions for all ages (you can click here for more information) as well as supporting the local arts, culture and creativity in the region.

Toby Bridges, who is CEO at The NBT Group as well as a founding member, chairman and acting CEO at The Exchange, has been passionate about inspiring the region to get involved in the arts for over 12 years.  Born from his original idea, The Exchange’s intention mirrors that of the overarching purpose of The NBT Group, to support and develop a vibrant community.

Speaking on the free places on offer, Toby Bridges, said: “Due to the contribution from The NBT Group, Karen and the team are now starting to see all of their hard work pay off. We are extremely pleased that we are able to offer support to such a fantastic opportunity that’s close to our hearts and reach audiences from areas of high deprivation that may not usually have access to the arts.

“At The NBT Group we are passionate about individuals growing to reach their full potential and improve their confidence. Children are our future leaders, teachers and creatives and the skills they will obtain from their workshops can be really beneficial for later life, even if the career path they take is completely different to the arts.”

Karen Knox, artistic director at The Exchange, said: “Our youth programmes at The Exchange offer young people the chance to grow and improve their confidence, as well as developing their skills in acting, singing and dancing.

“We strongly believe that the arts should be accessible to everyone and thanks to Toby and The NBT Group, we can now offer places to young people who may not have had the opportunity before.”

On hand to show his support to The Exchange and the importance of arts and culture in the region, Robson Green commented: “If you really want to build an avenue into the arts and you live in the North East of England then The Exchange is the place to be.

“It’s a really great life-affirming story what’s going on here. I see myself in these young people and whether you want to make a living being in the arts, or just use it as a confidence building exercise, it’s the perfect venue to do that.”

To express interest for one of the free spaces, please email [email protected] or calling 0191 258 411.


Coastal Revival Fund Success – Jan 2019

Coastal Revival Fund KarenWe have welcomed hundreds of artists, singers, musicians, theatre companies and performers since we opened three years ago.  Now our grade II-listed building is set for a makeover after receiving £48,000 from the Coastal Revival Fund – one of 23 projects chosen.   Areas of our former Methodist church, which was built in 1856, that will benefit include the main auditorium, box office, dressing rooms and café kitchen.

Our artistic director Karen Knox said: “We are absolutely thrilled to receive this money, it is going to make such a difference to what we are able to do here. “We have had so many fantastic, talented acts through our doors, and the changes we will make to our facilities will ensure we are able to continue attracting top quality performers, as well as grass roots theatre and community groups. “We see ourselves as a cultural centre for North Tyneside and we are confident we will be able to continue bringing the arts to all for a long time to come. “We want to say a huge thank you to the Coastal Communities Fund, as well North Tyneside Council, North Shields Fish Quays Coastal Community Team and Cornerstone Fundraising for their vital support of our application.”

Our building, which has a café-bar, 300-seater auditorium and exhibition space, was opened by The Exchange charity on New Year’s Day 2016. Changes to the building will be made as part of The Exchange’s 21st Century Project and will include an updated ticketing system, new seats and lighting for the auditorium, redecoration of the dressing rooms and box office, and refitting of the café’s kitchen. Work is due to begin by April and continue during 2019.

Councillor Sarah Day, cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure, said: “This is fantastic news for the venue and the local community. The Exchange is an important heritage site, which has been reborn as a vibrant performance venue and a home for creative businesses. “The funding will allow the management team to build on their achievements, upgrade their facilities and enhance the audience experience, while also helping to attract higher profile artists and make a positive contribution to the local economy. I would like to congratulate the team for a remarkable achievement in putting together this bid.” Man fined for breaching fishing licence Northern Powerhouse and Coastal Communities Minister Jake Berry MP, said: “I’m proud to support these 23 magnificent projects from Ryde to Runcorn with investment from the Government’s Coastal Revival Fund. “Putting heritage at the heart of our coastal towns is an important way of attracting visitors and boosting our local economies. “We’re determined to save these historic landmarks for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations while delivering on our promise to invest over a quarter of a billion pounds into the Great British Coast by 2020.”


Supported by: 


Coastal revival Fund