The production company behind the Swanage Rep theatre season at The Mowlem has won a government grant, raising hopes of a return next year after the ‘unprecedented and unpredictable’ impact of Covid.
This summer 2021, the opening nights of the company’s flagship show, The Princess and the Pauper, had to be delayed at the last minute because a member of the production team tested positive for the virus.
Given the prevailing climate, audiences also proved reticent to come out.
In 2020, it was even more difficult for the production company as all performances were cancelled due to Covid restrictions.
The Swanage Rep has become an annual feature of summer at The Mowlem
Keeps theatre company afloat
Now, the production company, Hordern Ciani, which is based in Somerset, has been awarded £27,658 from the Culture Recovery Fund aimed at helping arts organisations affected by the crisis.
The award will enable the theatre company to stay afloat after a challenging couple of years.
Private Lives at The Mowlem this summer 2021
“Would have been the end”
Katherine Mount, producer for Hordern Ciani, said:
“Without this support it would have been the end of our theatre productions without question, so we are delighted that we can continue to create and develop our products, building on the work that so many talented individuals in the arts have contributed to over the years, and bring yet more quality theatre to our audiences in the near future.
“We are so relieved to be receiving support from the Culture Recovery Fund to see us through what has been a totally unprecedented and unpredictable episode for our company, and for the theatre season we have so lovingly created down in Swanage.”
The Princess and the Pauper
The productions this summer included the ground-breaking new musical, The Princess and The Pauper, that incorporated British Sign Language, signed song and a mix of deaf and hearing actors.
Other performances featured Coronation Street actress Kimberly Hart-Simpson in Educating Rita and the Noel Coward classic Private Lives.
Coronation Street actress Kimberly Hart-Simpson
New ventilation system
The Mowlem theatre spent £4,000 on a new ventilation system, extracting air from the auditorium and bringing in fresh air.
The capacity of the theatre was reduced from 380 to 230, with strict social distancing rules in place.
The Mowlem auditorium underwent major improvements to ventilation
“Return to our Swanage home”
“The summer was such a bitter sweet mixture of joy at seeing so many familiar faces, and bringing that stage to life once again with what we believe to have been our best quality productions to date, whilst simultaneously suffering the consequences of this pandemic which is still very relevant for many people.
“We can finally take stock and consider what the next year will look like and we very much hope this means a return to our Swanage home.”
Producer Katherine Mount
“Learning from our experience”
The latest round of funding from the unprecedented Culture Recovery Fund of more than £100 million is in addition to over £1.2 billion already awarded, supporting thousands of cultural organisations across the country.
“We look forward to entering into our yearly discussions with the Mowlem team to formulate a plan that will be both exciting and inclusive for the town, learning from our experience this year in such a different climate for theatre.”
Children’s classic The Railway Children was staged in 2018