Word on the towpath is our wonderful theatre, the only theatre in Devizes, The Wharf Theatre is preparing for curtains up in October, starting with an amateur production of My Mother Said I Never Should.
Since being forced to close in March the team have been working tirelessly to keep East Wiltshire’s best loved and only theatre afloat. There was a time, in June, when the future looked rather bleak for the little theatre. After the renovation three years ago, surplus funds were already low, then lockdown happened. The Gazette reported it may have to close due to a £30,000 shortfall in income. Celebrity patron Christopher Biggins praised and promoted a campaign, at the time they hoped to reopen for 2021. So good news is, we’re some months earlier you can enjoy the Wharf productions once again.
While it’s great news for entertainment in town, be aware and be quick to book. Only thirty tickets are available for each performance, in line with current guidelines. They can be purchased by ringing 03336 663 366; from the website Wharftheatre.co.uk or at the Devizes Community Hub and Library on Sheep Street, Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm
Last years’ Chair, Oli Beech says: “Break out the bottles, the phoenix of theatre does rise from the ashes and soars high above Devizes! Our dear little theatre is back in the black after a close encounter with disaster! The call went out and boy, was it answered. We’ve had donations pouring in, generous members and locals passing the hats around, bake sale proceeds, even an overwhelming donation of £10,000. We are so thankful to everyone who has helped us either financially or with their many words of support and encouragement….”
During their enforced closure the team hosted three costume sales to raise further funds; completely updated their website and launched a YouTube channel to keep people entertained with specially filmed monologues and some short behind the scene films.
The Wharf also welcome a new Artistic Director, Debby Wilkinson. “Restrictions are beginning to lift but with social distancing still very much in place,” Debby said, “anything we do in the theatre itself will be limited. However, we are very proud to launch the first three plays of our Autumn/Winter season.”
Whilst social distancing restrictions remain in place please continue to refer to their website for the latest details. But I’m happy to announce the new performances will be:
My Mother Said I Never Should
Friday 16th and Saturday 17th October 2020 7.30pm each evening
Written by Charlotte Keatley and Directed by Debby Wilkinson
This rehearsed reading is scheduled to run on October 16th and 17th. First performed in 1987, this play breaks with convention in that it doesn’t follow a linear timeline. The text is now studied for both GCSE and A level and tells the stories of four women throughout several periods of their lives. It explores the relationships between mothers and daughters along the themes of independence and secrets. It is a poignant bittersweet story of love, jealousy and the price of freedom through the immense social changes of the 20th century. Copyright: this amateur production is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals Ltd on behalf of Samuel French Ltd concordtheatricals.co.uk
Tickets: £10/£8 concessions.
Adam and the Gurglewink
Friday 13th and Saturday 14th November
7.30pm each evening with a 2.30pm Saturday Matinee
Written and Directed by Helen Langford
Three rehearsed readings of an original play by the Wharf’s own Helen Langford. Adam is planning to run away when he stumbles across The Gurglewink, a childhood toy who has come to life in the attic. They form a reluctant friendship where reality blurs and magic happen. They meet Rainbowgirl who challenges Adam to a dangerous quest which will depend on his ability to keep going when things are not always what they seem.
Suitable for children 6-12 years and their parents. Tickets:/ £8/£6 concessions
Collected Grimm Tales
Monday 14th to Saturday 19th December 7.30pm each evening with a 2.30pm Saturday Matinee
By: The Brothers Grimm Directed by: Debby Wilkinson
Familiar and lesser known stories are brought to the stage using a physical and non-natural style of performance. These stories journey into the warped world of imagination. We will meet Hansel and Gretel, Ashputtel, Rumpelstiltskin and others, performed by a small adult cast, on a simple set. The audience will need to use their imagination and fully embrace the living power of theatre. Suitable for children and adults.
Copyright: this amateur production is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals Ltd. On behalf of Samuel French Ltd concordtheatricals.co.uk Adaptor Carol Ann Duffy Dramatised by Tim Supple and the Young Vic Co. Tickets: £14/£12 concessions