Local community gets to see Swanage’s theatre in a new light

A multi-sensory backstage tour of The Mowlem in Swanage has been a surprise hit giving people a chance to peek behind the scenes.

Rather than sit down in the auditorium and view a theatre production or cinema, audience members have been invited to explore the unseen parts of the theatre, accompanied by lights, video and music.

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Behind the Scenes is on at The Mowlem from Saturday 2nd until Saturday 9th October 2021.

Light show backstage at the Mowlem
Light show backstage at the Mowlem
Alex Hermon
Light show backstage at the Mowlem

Unique experience

The unique experience has been designed by Ryan Joseph Stafford, who led on the project and was part of the workshops with young people, who helped to create the final effects. Students from schools including The Swanage School and Purbeck View took part.

Ryan himself grew up in Swanage and started his career at The Mowlem. He is now an award-winning lighting designer who works internationally in theatre, musicals and dance.

Light show backstage at the Mowlem
Alex Hermon
Light show backstage at the Mowlem
Light show backstage at the Mowlem

“Excited to return to Swanage

He said:

“The Mowlem Theatre gave me a kickstart to a career in theatre. I’m excited to return to Swanage to share my skills with people growing up in Dorset, who may not have ever considered working in the arts as a viable career option.”

The community engagement project was funded by Arts Council England as part of a scheme to employ those within the theatre industry and to help restart theatres that had been closed due to the pandemic.

The tours are for 15 minute timed entry slots with tickets £10 per household and free to families in receipt of Universal Credit.

Light show backstage at the Mowlem
Light show backstage at the Mowlem
Alex Hermon
The Mowlem lit up in purple and blue lights

We want to be an approachable venue”

The concept was in response to a survey by The Mowlem which found that some thought the theatre didn’t feel part of the local community.

Thomas Curtis, The Mowlem’s operations manager said:

“We’re thrilled to be involved in a project that focuses on reaching parts of the Swanage community who don’t feel like they are able to access the theatre. People want to get to know us at The Mowlem and learn who we are.

“During our community survey, people said that they want us to ‘open up The Mowlem’. We want to be an approachable venue, eager to listen and learn from our community.

“I’ve been really pleased with how well it’s gone and all the great feedback. I think it’s entirely possible that we could do this or something similar again.”

Book tickets

Tickets for the final night are available via The Mowlem website

Light show backstage at the Mowlem
Alex Hermon
Light show backstage at the Mowlem
Light show backstage at the Mowlem
Alex Hermon

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