Camberley Theatre's Andy Edmeads on his perfect Surrey weekend
PUBLISHED: 12:00 04 May 2017 | UPDATED: 12:46 04 May 2017
Camberley Theatre’s newly-appointed venue and operations manager, Andy Edmeads, loves his job so much, he often spends his weekends visiting Surrey’s theatres too but he also makes time to flick through old vinyls and sample cheese
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine April 2017
I’ve lived in Surrey all my life and there really is no better place to be. I started working professionally in theatre when I was 12 years old, treading the boards at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking, alongside Russ Abbot and Kellie Bright in Peter Pan. I’ve worked on many shows in The Rhoda McGaw and still regularly attend Woking’s theatres as an audience member, reviewer and theatre maker. Many of my friends are involved in local groups and societies and I’m only too happy to go and help or support them!
Woking often gets overlooked as a destination I feel due to its close proximity to Guildford and London but it’s got so much to offer. In recent years the town centre has been well refurbished with some great new shops, restaurants and cafés. My top tip in Woking would be Cellar Magneval Wine Bar & Caveau, down Church Path; their cheese trolley is to die for and there are always interesting (and often free!) things to see at the nearby The Lightbox art gallery and museum.
I’ve been fortunate enough to work all over Surrey in towns such as Redhill, Addlestone, Caterham and Oxted. My time in Caterham will always be particularly fond to me having spent two years re-opening and running The Arc, a community arts centre in Caterham on the Hill. The excitement of having six weeks to turn an empty building into a buzzing venue is one that will never be matched and while it took a lot of blood, sweat and tears the comradery and energy felt from that project will always make me proud. Caterham has a real close-knit community spirit too and the annual Caterham Carnival is well worth checking out in June.
Oxted is a really charming, pretty town and I love a trip to the Everyman Cinema, which shows a great mix of new and art-house films and you should definitely check out their amazing snacks and nibbles (I recommend the honeycomb bites!).
For the last five years, I’ve spent my working life in Camberley and for the past two years, been based at Camberley Theatre – a venue I am now immensely proud to be venue manager of. Until I started working in the town, I had no idea the amount of stuff to do; there are the obvious attractions like The Mall, Atrium and Arena Leisure Centre (I really need to go more regularly) but there are some excellent local events organised by Lucy and the team at Collectively Camberley. These include a monthly farmers’ market, which sells savoury and sweet treats, Classic Car Show and Rooftop Cinema week to name a few.
Theatre has always been a big part of my life and I try to see as many shows in as many venues as possible. Working in a venue is a great chance to see productions but also to meet like-minded people and to hear about the next show to see. This week I’m seeing four shows and just been invited to a press night for another! It’s definitely not a 9am to 5pm job! Luckily being in an area like Surrey there’s never a shortage of things to see and do.
When not working or watching shows, Guildford is a real favourite of mine. Ben’s Records in the Tunsgate area is the perfect place to unwind and flick through old vinyl (he’s just the nicest bloke too!) and I can wholeheartedly recommend the toasties in Caracoli at the top of town.
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