Highlights of 2017 with Swindon Theatres

2017 has been a great year for Swindon Theatres, we’ve had lots of fantastic shows during the year including: Blood Brothers, Shirley Valentine, Summer Holiday, Dreamboats and Petticoats as well as performances by local companies including: Prime Theatre, TS Theatre, Gatecrash Theatre, Judith Hockaday and more. As the year comes to a close, we sat down with members of the Swindon Theatres team to find out their highlights from the year.

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Giuseppe Frijia who works as a Stage Door Receptionist and on our Promotions Team reflects on some of his highlights.

“Working both on stage door and for promotions brings with it a lot of highlights for me in the work that I do here. Where one involves traversing the town the other involves holding the fort in the building so it’s a fun balance for me. In promotions I have really enjoyed getting out with the team and the wide variety of locations we go to in order to promote the theatre.

So I would say it’s difficult to choose one event as the nature of the job is intrinsically unique. But I will say that taking Carl the crocodile (Yes I named him!) on tour to promote panto has been particularly entertaining but falls just short of the fun of dancing to the 50’s music we used to promote Dreamboats and Petticoats; a masterstroke of marketing ingenuity so grab a notepad and pen… On stage door, given that I’m still relatively new to the role I would say that I have enjoyed getting to know and working with the team of people here at the theatre. I felt welcome from the first day and feel like I’ve been here for years, which in itself is incredibly rewarding. So,… other highlights include meeting the legend that is Mr. John Challis (Boycie); a cult hero in my family. Also meeting the cast from Storage Hunters was fantastic, they made a point of signing bits for me and taking pictures because I recognised them and I can honestly say they are some of the friendliest people I have ever met. Finally, having a chat with Simon Brodkin about his ludicrous pranks was certainly a night to remember. Frankly, working here in itself has been the highlight of my year and that I’m sure as they say… is the magic of theatre!”

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Claire Stewart, Ticket Office Assistant reflects on her favorite memories of the past year.

“Live theatre is a great love of mine, from plays to musicals, music acts to comedians. I have many highlights from this year – there are always plenty of shows to enjoy at the Wyvern. I loved Blood Brothers and Dreamboats & Petticoats this year and although completely different to each other, both were well received by our audiences. I saw, and very much enjoyed, Beverly Craven at the Arts Centre.

Being in such an intimate venue made this performance very special. And Shane Filan appearing at the Wyvern in October was great fun, and very entertaining. Watching the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was an experience I shall long remember, the sight and sound of a world-class orchestra on our stage was amazing. We also took advantage of the pre-show meal beforehand in our restaurant, The Place, which made our evening even more enjoyable. Working in Ticket Office means I get the chance to hear, first hand, rehearsals for our two biggest events of the year – Summer Youth Project and the Pantomime. Both of these events are very special and the Theatre comes alive during these times. I’m always amazed by how talented the SYP youngsters are, they produce such a professional, polished performance, year after year. Summer Holiday this August was no exception, and our wonderful young cast played to appreciative audiences, many of whom come back to watch time and again.

And so to book-end 2017, our Pantomime! This is always a great highlight every year – from seeing the cast wandering through our foyer during rehearsals; to the excitement of the schools’ performances, seeing and hearing the children having the best time; and then the shows full of family groups or groups of friends – definitely one of the pleasures of working at the Wyvern.”

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Marcus Lilley, Marketing & Promotions Assistant shares his highlights from the year including our Summer Youth Project, #LoveTheatreDay and more.

“LoveTheatreDay, an online celebration of everything theatre related, was a special highlight for me. We held a live Q & A with members of team as well as sharing memories, images and anecdotes from the Wyvern’s past. It’s special because it reminds why you love theatre and the memories it creates. It also trended worldwide on Twitter which was great to see. It’s great to share insights into working in theatre with our audience and make our work more accessible.

Our events that we run at the Wyvern are always special and this year we ran an event as part of Celebrate Swindon Weekend, a weekend celebrating Swindon arts and cultural scene, it was fantastic to see so many people experiencing what Swindon offers and so many happy faces! Other highlights from our events this year have to be our panto roadshow with our panto crocodile, the Swindon & Cricklade Vintage Railway Weekend and not forgetting Christmas events such as Christmas at Steam which are magical and give you a warm fuzzy feeling inside as you know it’s nearly Christmas! During our Summer Youth Project, I was a chaperone which was a privilege to be part of and see the buzz and excitement of SYP first hand. It is a special experience to see so many people performing and excited to be part of a project that has a special place in so many people’s hearts.”

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Deputy Building and Technical Manager David Jell shares reflects on our annual Summer Youth Project and more:

“I think my ultimate highlight of 2017 was getting a 23 foot long double decker bus on stage for the Summer Youth Project production of Summer Holiday in August!  A massive amount of team work in the technical department made this happen.  Some of my favourite moments at the Arts Centre this year have included some fantastic comedians, such as Lee Hurst, Danny Bhoy, Tiff Stevenson and Lucy Porter.  Some fantastic plays by local companies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Constellations by Gatecrash Theatre, Don’t Dress For Dinner by the Western Players and Recipe For Murder by the Phoenix Players, which have helped continue the fantastic range of productions I get to enjoy working on at the Arts Centre…I look forward to more next year!”

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Cover Image and Above Image Photo Credit: Elma Rubio

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