Non-professional theatre produced professionally
The Swan Theatre Company is committed to developing the performing arts in Yeovil and performs six shows a year, providing a wide range of opportunities for our members to perform or work backstage. In addition the theatre is a venue which is used by other groups in the area. Through our Charity Nights we have helped local charities raise thousands of pounds for their charities
In addition to the six shows a year, from time to time, we present rehearsed readings and run workshops on technical and stage-related aspects. To reinforce our links to the local community we maintain close contacts with schools and colleges in the area to explore mutually interesting projects. We aim to provide an interesting and challenging theatrical environment for people of all levels of ability.
We aim to provide an interesting and challenging theatrical environment for people of all levels of ability. The Swan Theatre is recognised as an outstanding example of non-professional theatre, evidenced by the press notices received for our productions, the awards received in local drama competitions and by the comments and loyalty of our local audience, so do please come and join us.
We have had no magic wand but, year by year, improvements have been made. The Swan does not normally receive public funding, or any financial support from any other organisation, relying solely on the efforts of its members and patrons. Years of voluntary work and the re-investment of all profits into the building and its equipment have resulted in the Swan becoming one of the best equipped little theatres in the West of England. We can now offer the public an intimate performance space, tiered auditorium with excellent acoustics, professional quality lighting and sound systems, and a fully licensed bar.
This year has been an exceptional one in terms of the amount of refurbishment work being undertaken, whilst simultaneously receiving no revenue from ticket sales. We are therefore exceedingly grateful for the financial support given to us in 2021 by South Somerset District Council, Yeovil Town Council and Brympton Parish Council. This contributed significantly to our funds, enabling us to invest in a new Ventilation System which has given us the safe and comfortable environment which we have long desired and needed. See what our audience members have said:
“Your new ventilation system made such a difference: the ambient temperature was totally comfortable, and so much better than previously. In fact, as usual for summer productions, I brought a fan with me – which stayed in my bag!” – “From our point of view as audience members, we felt comfortable and safe in enjoying the experience, because of the systems you have put in place. We felt that the auditorium temperature was perfect, and after such a hot day too”.
A Little bit of History
In 1967 the Bass brewery sold The Swan, a derelict Yeovil pub, to the Yeovil Dramatic and Arts Society. For seven years members worked to transform the pub into an attractive headquarters with facilities for rehearsals and set-building. Performances still had to take place in hired halls. The society then decided to build its own theatre on the land behind the building. Its first production there was in 1976.
Our Future - the Swan Theatre Development Plan
The Swan Theatre doesn’t rest on it’s laurels.
We are constantly looking for ways to improve the quality of the performances, the facilities of the building and the experience of our audience and patrons.
See the attached Development Plan to see the plans we have in place for the next two years.
Relocation of the Stage Door
In the near term, we are also planning to move the location of the Stage Door.
As many of you will be aware the Swan set up a working group well before lockdown to look at development possibilities for the Swan. Whilst that group found it difficult to reach firm conclusions about the way forward and lockdown stifled discussion further, one area that was agreed was to investigate moving the stage door. As you will know the current stage door opens on to a small lobby by the kitchen.
The proposal is to move the stage door to the other end of the building and use the existing blocked up window opening into the props room. In addition, the plans show the backstage stairs being reversed (i.e. starting away from the stage area) and being much less steep. The rationale for these changes are:
- It locates the stage door backstage – rather than in a public area, therefore improving the separation between front of house and backstage.
- The changes to the stairs will make them safer and will reduce the transmission of noise to the wings of the stage.
- Crucially it will allow us, in the future, to consider how we can use the space by the old stage door – the kitchen, disabled toilet, stairs and ladies toilet to improve toilet facilities and flow to the bar. In other words it enables potential future development. For the time being we will not block up the old stage door.
We have been granted planning permission and the plans have building regulations approval. It is unclear how quickly we will proceed with this proposal – as this will be dependent on cost. We are currently seeking quotes from builders.
Don’t hesitate to contact us at email@example.com if you have any questions about the project or want to know more.