Working with writer and theatre-maker Chris Thorpe the Royal Exchange Theatre’s Local Exchange Ambassadors from Leigh, Tameside and Cheetham Hill have come together to create KEEP IT IN THE DAY – a heartfelt poem expressing their experiences of lockdown and their hopes for our future.

“I never knew that a new world could contain people who thank you for singing to yourself.
I miss watching sports that haven’t already happened.
I miss knowing this thing is live and undecided…
All that said though, all that said
There are things from this I’d keep for sure, when we’re allowed hugs, and pubs.
When we can use the word spontaneous again…”

KEEP IT IN THE DAY is a beautiful reflection on our lives today, an inspiring collection of thoughts and feelings shaped by these extraordinary times. Created via online conversations, writer Chris Thorpe spent time with each ambassador group with every conversation feeding into the content, shape and structure of the poem. From missing the hustle and bustle of a classroom full of children to learning the names of your neighbours, from babies being born to dating apps, roller-skates, allotments, AA meetings and our exceptional key workers – it is a poem for now from the people of Greater Manchester.

Writer Chris Thorpe said,
"It’s been amazing to work with the ambassador groups, listen to how they are, what they’ve learned, and what they want to pass on. The Exchange might have connected them with each other, but this poem comes from what they’ve decided to do with that connection. They’ve supported each other, and made something that will help other people feel supported - maybe even inspired to think about the useful changes we can carry out of this difficult situation."

Mary Burke an ambassador from Cheetham Hill said of working on the poem and the film…
"It was a pleasure to be involved in making a personal contribution to Ambassador film KEEP IT IN THE DAY. Appreciating how much the other ambassadors’ individual experiences and feelings went into the words of the poem made it all the more special."

Inga Hirst, the Royal Exchange Theatre’s Director of Creative Learning and Engagement concluded:
"Staying connected during this time of isolation sat at the heart of the Exchange’s plans for the Local Exchange programme. The different Ambassador groups from across Greater Manchester had been meeting up for a while, exchanging ideas and learning from each other. Strong bonds had been created and the teams were as determined to carry on working across boroughs as they were about carrying on their individual work with the theatre. The Leigh and Cheetham Hill ambassadors were inspired by the film that the Tameside group had made last year for the Den, (our pop-up theatre), so creating something similar with everybody involved seemed very possible. KEEP IT IN THE DAY is just beautiful, an honest and open illustration of what ordinary life is like right now. I think it also shows just how powerful the arts can be in capturing a moment in time."