Highlights of 2016 with the Swindon Theatres Team

As the year comes to an end, members of the team at Swindon Theatres reflect on their highlights of 2016. Highlights of 2016 have included Grease our annual Summer Youth Project which involved 180 young people aged 9 to 21 and Cinderella our pantomime starring Ryan Thomas from Coronation Street.

2016 has been a great year for both venues with local companies such as TS Theatre Productions, Quirky Bird Theatre, Gatecrash Theatre and Prime Theatre premiering and showcasing their latest work work. As well as The MouseTrap, David Walliams Gangsta Granny, The Buddy Holly Story, BalletBoyz, Russian State Opera and many more!

Marketing & Sales Manager Laura reflects on her highlights of 2016.

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2016 has been a year packed with so many great events at both of our theatres so it’s hard to pick out just one highlight. We’ve had such a huge range of shows, from children’s favourite Peppa Pig Peppa Pig to wartime Drama Lotty’s War, comedian Michael McIntyre to Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap.

Amongst the best shows I’ve seen this year were Roald Dahl’s The Witches and David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny which were both fantastic productions. I’m a huge fan of Children’s theatre and I love seeing how much it can inspire our youngest patrons.

We had another brilliant year with our Summer Youth Project production of Grease, one of my favourite musicals. I always find it astounding that the cast and crew can put on a full-scale musical to such amazingly high standards in just ten days, and it makes you so proud to be part of the Swindon Theatres team.

Organising community events is a part of my job that I love, and this year we’ve had such fun, particularly with the Arts Centre 60th Anniversary Open Day and our annual Family Fun Day at the Wyvern. The whole marketing team really comes together for these events and it’s wonderful to see so many people of all different ages coming into the venues and being entertained for free.

Of course to end the year, Pantomime is always a highlight for me and my absolute favourite time of year. Everyone works so hard on the 12 month-long campaign and I just love seeing it all come together and for the theatre to be filled with panto madness. Having already started on next year’s, it’s a good job we all love it so much!

Marcus, our Marketing & Promotions Assistant reflects on the Arts Centre 60th celebrations as well as his show highlights from the year.

Lewis Collier (Sgt Trotter), Gregory Cox (Mr Paravicini) and Amy Dowham (Miss Casewell) in The Mousetrap. Credit Liza Maria Dawson (10).jpg

My personal highlight of the year was the Arts Centre 60th Anniversay in September, it was a very special event to organise and deliver, bringing together companies and individuals who had been part of the story of the Arts Centre. It was fascinating to speak to former director Clarry Bean about his time as director of the Arts Centre from 1993 to 2014 and to hear annecodotes from his period in office. The Central Studies department of Swindon Library provided some wonderful archive materials to display the history of the Arts Centre through some its most promiment organisations and companies.  Our Promotions and Front of House team did a fantastic job to ensure the smooth running on the day.

My first Summer Youth Project and Pantomime have been great to be involved with and help promote, being able to see joy and celebration in people’s eyes is very moving to see. Other performance highlights from this year were seeing the world’s longest running theatre show The Mousetrap, David Walliams’s Gangsta Granny, Buddy the Musical at the Wyvern Theatre. Gatecrash Theatre’s The Crucible, Quirky Bird Theatre’s Tusk Tusk and Prime Theatre’s The Odyssey at the Arts Centre were also highlights.

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Grease our Summer Youth Project was led by our Community & Education Officer Nyree and she explains a little bit more about the show as her highlight of the year.

My highlight of 2016 was the Summer Youth Project.  This year the young people took on the iconic favourite Grease. It was quite a challenge to cast, organise and manage almost 200 performers and backstage participants.  Contrary to popular belief I work on the Project for most of the year (not just for the 2 weeks!) contracting the Creative team, getting the rights for the show, arranging the band, recruiting and training the volunteer chaperones etc.

The children have so much energy and enthusiasm but also a hard work ethic; it is easy to forget that at the start they know very little and by Day 10 they are putting on their first show on the professional stage! As the Project’s Co-ordinator I always worry how it will go, will they enjoy themselves etc but year on year the children surpass my wildest expectations and the shows have sold out!  All the Wyvern staff worked amazingly hard to make the Project a success and we are so proud of what was achieved.  It all seems to go by so fast and almost too soon the curtain was down on the last performance.  But as one Project finished, we started planning for the next one………

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Kate our Marketing & Press Officer, reflects on her highlights of the year including Cinderella and Peppa Pig!

2016 has been a very busy year. It’s hard to remember all of the great activities I’ve been involved in and pick a favourite!

I always enjoy the creative side of my job and love being able to photograph events and promotional photo calls. There have been loads of opportunities to do this in 2016 and some of my favourites have included; taking Mr Potato from Peppa Pig’s Surprise to Roves Farm to meet some very cute newborn piglets, heading to London to watch and photograph the rehearsals of Britain’s Got Talent winners Ashleigh and Pudsey’s first theatre tour – Mission Impudseyble, helping capture the fantastic on-stage talent of our Summer Youth Project production of Grease and, of course, all things panto… the Ugly Sisters in particular were a lot of fun to photograph!

Here’s hoping next year is just as fun, I’m sure it will be!

*****

Everyone at Swindon Theatres would like to wish all of our patrons a very Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year and we look forward to welcoming you to our venues in 2017.

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