Little Horrors relaunch The Mowlem theatre in Swanage

Live theatre is back at The Mowlem and first up is an exuberant musical production by students from The Swanage School.

The performances of Little Shop of Horrors start on Wednesday 21st July 2021 and run through to Friday 23rd July 2021.


The musical comedy tells the story of a florist who discovers a new carnivorous plant that demands to be fed and won’t stop until it has achieved world domination!

Directing a show for the fifth time is the school’s director of performing arts, Harry Peake. His previous productions include: Grease, Hairspray and Fame.

School child rehearses Little Shop of Horrors
The Swanage School

Seymour, played by Sonny, rehearses the moment he discovers his new plant has a taste for blood…

“It’s tons of fun and slightly crazy”

Harry Peake explained:

“I picked Little Shop of Horrors as it has a great score. It’s tons of fun and slightly crazy. My favourite things!”

It’s a big moment for the 50 or so student actors in the cast, who have had to rehearse under the shadow of Covid.

It’s also an important production for staff at The Mowlem, the first show since the theatre was forced to close its doors because of government restrictions.

Exterior view of the Mowlem entrance

The show is the first at The Mowlem as it reopens

“A massive challenge”

Thomas Curtis, operations manager, said:

“It feels great to be opening the doors of The Mowlem again with live theatre from the Swanage School doing their musical, Little Shop of Horrors. It has been a massive challenge to reopen, getting tickets on sale, and bring live theatre and cinema back to The Mowlem.

“It is great to have the school production first, putting on community theatre and bringing the local community together is a great part of putting on shows, especially after such a long time.”

School children rehearse Little Shop of Horrors
The Swanage School

In rehearsals: Everyone wants a piece of Seymour’s new found fame and his inner turmoil is exposed to the audience.

Theatre sets out its approach

Thomas said the theatre wanted to ensure that people enjoyed themselves and felt safe watching the show. He explained the theatre’s approach:

“It is now not a legal requirement to wear a face mask or to stay socially distanced. However, we are strongly advising everyone who attends The Mowlem to wear face masks, especially when moving around the building and to stay socially distanced as much as possible.”

There is full ‘social distancing’ in the circle and more limited in the stalls. There are hand sanitising stations throughout the venue. Staff will continue to wear masks and keep their distance.

Little Shop of Horrors
The Swanage School

The actors on stage are supported by a big team behind the scenes

“Nothing has fazed them”

Harry said:

“Rehearsals have been fast and furious. We have gone from auditions to production in only ten weeks!

“It certainly has been hard work. On top of this we have had cast changes and pupils having to self-isolate due to Covid but our students are resilient and hard working. Nothing has fazed them.

“I am so proud of all the cast and crew. They have been truly amazing. Their hard work and kindness is inspiring and makes my job much more fun.”

School children rehearse Little Shop of Horrors
The Swanage School

Crystal, Ronette and Chiffon, played by Evie, Pollen and Sophia, narrate the story.

“The magic of stage”

Harry, who is originally from the West Midlands, graduated from Italia Conti in 2008 and worked as an actor before becoming a teacher.

He added:

“We are looking forward to opening The Mowlem theatre after being closed for months and creating the magic of stage once again.”

The production takes place at The Mowlem Theatre from Wednesday 21st to Friday 23rd July 2021 at 7:30 pm, with a Friday matinee at 2:30 pm. Tickets are £10 and available from The Mowlem theatre website or the box office.

Little Shop of Horrors poster

First show back at The Mowlem

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