After six months of lockdown, Mowlem to reopen its doors!

After being forced to close by the coronavirus crisis, The Mowlem theatre in Swanage is to finally reopen on Friday 2nd October 2020 with the cinema screening of Matthew Bourne’s ballet, The Red Shoes.

Along with theatres across the country, The Mowlem has been a victim of the pandemic, leaving it with no income but still occurring costs, for a much longer time than other businesses like shops and restaurants.


In order to operate safely and comply with the government coronavirus guidance, there’s had to be a few changes with the main one being the reduction in the number of people allowed in the auditorium.

The Red Shoes movie poster

First on the bill when The Mowlem opens its doors will be Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes

Harder to get tickets for the popular shows

The Mowlem normally has a capacity of 370 but now it’s going to be reduced to 120 people with 80 seats in the stalls and 30 in the circle. This means it’ll be harder to get tickets for the popular shows.

One of the bonuses of the closure has been that it’s allowed for the refurbishment of some of the interior areas. This includes the ground floor, where the refreshment kiosk has been closed, to give more space for people to access the lift and the box office. Now a new refreshment cart will be available on the first floor, selling ice cream, sweets and drinks.

Comply with track and trace

All people must buy a ticket in advance, either online, over the phone or at the booking office. At the same time a person’s details must be collected in order to comply with track and trace.

Once in the theatre, hand sanitiser will be available and face masks must be worn. To limit the amount of audience movement, many performances won’t have an interval and will run straight through.

Exterior of The Mowlem

“You’ve got to look at things positively”

Speaking to Purbeck Coast 101.2 FM’s presenter, Karen Grant, the Mowlem’s general manager, Thomas Curtis said:

“It’s working in a whole new environment. I’m really passionate about getting us open when we can do so safely…You’ve got to look at things positively and the positive is that we are able to open and put on shows, which is what we do.”

Comedian and folk singer, Richard Digence

The first live stage performance will be the comedian and folk singer, Richard Digence, who is booked for the rather ominous date of Friday 13th November 2020. Tickets will go on sale soon.

Cinema screenings of West End shows are planned including The King and I, Kinky Boots and 42nd Street, as well as some recent classic films like Paddington, The Greatest Showman and Mamma Mia.

Christmas the new Easter

While not yet confirmed, The Mowlem is hoping that the new Bond movie, No Time to Die will be released in time for it to show it this December and what was meant to be the movie for Easter, Peter Rabbit 2, is now expected to be the big Christmas movie, making Christmas the new Easter in this rather complicated and confusing year!

Thomas Curtis added:

“We notice more than ever, how lucky we are to have the theatre in Swanage and the cinema – how important it is and what it brings to the community and the town… Everyone is trying really hard to give people in Swanage the chance to come and see something at the Mowlem and we’d love your support!”

For further information

The Mowlem in Shore Road in Swanage puts on live stage performances and cinema screenings throughout the year.

The Mowlem

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