Did you know there is a theatre which doubles as a cinema in the middle of Wallingford?

The Corn Exchange, in Market Place, is a completely volunteer-run entertainment venue where pantos, shows and cinema releases are shown.

I was lucky enough to go on a tour of the Grade II listed building which used to be where merchants traded grains until 1856 when the Sinodun Players bought it.

The Sinodon Players, a drama production company founded in 1948, converted the building into a 176-seat theatre which was officially opened by Sir Peter Hall in 1978.

Let’s take a look inside…


Herald Series: The box office.The box office.

The foyer is where people can buy their tickets and drinks before a performance or showing. The café is also opening on Friday and Saturday mornings regardless of whether something is on in case people want to come and enjoy a drink and a homemade baked good.

Herald Series: Foyer where you can buy drinks and baked goodsFoyer where you can buy drinks and baked goods

It is fit with black metal table and chairs and a cute mini library where people can buy books for a minimum donation of £1.

People can then go up some stairs to another dining area.

Curtis Room

Herald Series: Lots of tables and chairs to enjoy a pre-show drinkLots of tables and chairs to enjoy a pre-show drink

This room is full of tables and chairs for people to sit and enjoy their drinks before a performance or when the café is open at the weekend.


Walking through the upstairs doors to the theatre people will find they’re 60ft high looking over 176 red seats.

Herald Series: There is also wheelchair access and spaceThere is also wheelchair access and space

John Evans, the marketing director, tells me the ceiling used to be made from glass but this was replaced in 2017 at a cost of £800,000 raised through public donations and grants.

He hopes the next project will be replacing the large wooden stage as it’s getting “a bit squeaky” having been there since the theatre first opened.

Herald Series: The seats go up to 60ft so everyone can seeThe seats go up to 60ft so everyone can see

Green Room

Behind the stage is the “green room” where the behind-the-scenes magic happens. There are lights hung on walls and a space for the director to sit.

Herald Series: Lights and green walls...Lights and green walls...

The walls are painted green which made me wonder whether they were painted before or after the room was named…

Dennis Wood Studio

Herald Series: Dennis Wood, who is in his nineties, is the president of Sinodun Players Dennis Wood, who is in his nineties, is the president of Sinodun Players

After walking through the ladies dressing room, which was full of dresses of all colours, I found myself in the Dennis Wood Studio.

Herald Series: The room is used for rehearsalsThe room is used for rehearsals

The room, used for rehearsals and half-time coffee breaks, is named after the current president of the Sinodun Players.

The Workshop

Herald Series: So many tools!So many tools!

The final room is the workshop where production companies can come and make their sets ahead of time.

Herald Series: Need a seat anyone?Need a seat anyone?

It smelt strongly of paint and wood and the room was full of all set designs and strangely a lot of chairs and stools all piled up on a large shelf.

Herald Series: Sets in progressSets in progress There you have it, who knew!

For more information, visit: https://www.cornexchange.org.uk/

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