The Mowlem aims to become Swanage’s “thriving cultural centre”

Closed by Covid restrictions since the start of the year, Swanage’s theatre and cinema, The Mowlem has revealed plans to bounce back with a new programme in July 2021 and a new direction following its community consultation.

The survey, which took place in February and March 2021, sought the opinion of local residents of their past experience of the theatre, as well as seeking new ideas for the future.

Exterior view of the Mowlem entrance
Inside the Mowlem auditorium
The Mowlem

The way forward

The Mowlem Trustees have now collated the results and will use the information to inform them of the way forward. They said:

“We want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for taking the time to complete our recent survey about The Mowlem. We are very grateful. Without your input into this process, it would not be possible to learn what you, as a town, love about The Mowlem and what change needs to happen.

“We want to make The Mowlem the thriving cultural centre that Swanage deserves. A venue which not only reflects the needs of the town throughout winter but also caters for our many valued visitors in our summer season.”

More than 1500 local residents responded to the survey asking for their views and more than 450 people wanted to be added to The Mowlem’s mailing list.

The stairs at The Mowlem
The Mowlem
The auditorium at The Mowlem

Key points of the survey and the trustees’ response


“You identified that the facilities at The Mowlem needed improving. In particular people commented that The Mowlem needed better access, toilet facilities, decor, seating and temperature control. Some of these we have been busy trying to upgrade during lockdown but others are now on our list so thank you for your feedback.”

Social space

“You told us you want your cultural trip to be a social event and you want a building which supports this. ‘Bring back the bar’ was a frequent comment!”

The programme

“People often commented they wanted more diverse programming, with more mainstream theatre and cinema, art exhibitions, concerts and comedy evenings.

“Most often people wanted The Mowlem to make stronger connections with Swanage and Purbeck’s many festivals. PAW, Purbeck Film Festival, Blues and Jazz Festivals, ArtsReach and Arts by The Sea were some of the festivals that you mentioned.”

Education and accessibility

“You asked for The Mowlem to make stronger links with local schools as well as the provision of community outreach events, workshops, talks & lectures, classes, Q and As, adult education and youth theatre and music groups within the building.

“You want a pricing structure and offers that mean The Mowlem of the future is open to all. This suggestion went hand in hand with a desire to open up the space to the community, with a return to the committee room being widely used by local groups and a cafe open to all.”


“You wanted The Mowlem to have a strong brand, better communication and advertising so people know what’s on. During lockdown we fully embraced the 21st Century and updated the website to enable you to book seats online! We hope to further develop the website soon.”


“People want to get to know us at The Mowlem and learn who we are. This mirrors your feelings that you want us to ‘open up The Mowlem’ so the venue feels like yours. We want to be an approachable venue, eager to listen and learn from our community.”

Exterior of The Mowlem

Further information

More about The Mowlem and its plans are on its updated website

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