Swanage theatre gets cash boost for new stage lighting system

The Mowlem in Swanage in Dorset has won a share of a £64,000 funding pot to pay for improving its stage lighting equipment.

On Tuesday 25th July 2023, the Theatre’s Trust announced that the theatre in Swanage would be getting £5,000, one of only 14 theatres in the UK to receive money from its small grants programme supported by The Linbury Trust. The Lighthouse in Poole also received £5,000 towards wheelchair accessible doors.

The SW!M show at The Mowlem
The Mowlem

The Mowlem has an enviable position right on the seafront but needs more investment to survive in the long term

Help deliver a reliable service

The grant will allow The Mowlem to purchase and install a new lighting console, as its current system will soon be obsolete. The new equipment is LED compatible, which means it will support future replacement lighting.

The aim is that the new kit will help the theatre deliver a reliable service to visiting companies and hirers and attract new partnerships and programming.

Mowlem trustee Laura Dickens, who is leading its fundraising efforts, said:

“I am delighted that The Mowlem Theatre has been chosen by Theatres Trust for a £5,000 grant and in this, our fundraising year! Every penny will go towards updated lighting equipment for The Mowlem Theatre’s live shows.”

SW!M performance in The Mowlem

Stage lighting equipment is to get an upgrade

Aim to raise £160,000

This grant will go a small way towards The Mowlem’s aim to raise £160,000 in celebration of its 160th year as a charitable trust.

Director of the Theatres Trust, Jon Morgan said:

“Theatres Trust is proud to support these 14 theatres with small but important projects, great examples of the different ways theatres are looking to future proof their operations and remain at the heart of their

This money comes in addition to a £5,000 grant from Swanage Town Council and more than £7,000 raised through The Mowlem’s Take Your Seat campaign since it launched in April 2023.

The Take Your Seat campaign offers people the chance to dedicate a seat in The Mowlem to themselves or someone else.

For a £200 donation, an engraved plaque will be attached to a seat in the auditorium for the next 10 years and could raise £76,000 if all 380 seats are taken.

The Mowlem Showbar

The Showbar will be well stocked for Swanage Carnival week

More events than ever

The Mowlem trustees have been working hard to reinvigorate Swanage’s arts hub. The process started pre-Covid but was severely knocked back by the pandemic.

Now a few years later there are more events than ever in the theatre and in The Showbar, bringing in much needed income.

One of the key ambitions of the new team is to integrate more into the community and get involved with local festivals and this includes, for the first time in recent history, hosting events during Swanage Carnival week from Saturday 29th July to Saturday 5th August 2023.

A full week of activities are planned in The Showbar including the intriguingly named Carnival Beer Pong!

Carnival fireworks across Swanage Bay
Cenk Albayrak-Touyé

The Mowlem Showbar is a great vantage point to view the carnival fireworks

The Showbar carnival programme

  • Saturday 29th July – View the fireworks from The Showbar followed by the Flying G Disco 9 pm to 11 pm
  • Monday 31st July – Frankie Miles live acoustic session 8 pm to 10 pm
  • Tuesday 1st August – Oscar’s Ultimate Quiz starting at 7.30 pm
  • Wednesday 2nd August – View the fireworks from The Showbar followed by the Flying G Disco 9 pm to 11 pm
  • Thursday 3rd August – Carnival Beer Pong. A team game involving beer glasses and ping pong balls from 6 pm to 9 pm
  • Friday 4th August – Karen Grant’s Live Lounge
  • Saturday 5th August – View the fireworks from The Showbar followed by the Flying G Disco 9 pm to 11 pm

Further information

Mowlem carnival poster
Mowlem carnival poster

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