The Wharf Theatre Devizes
of business before the end of this year. More than 1,000 theatres around the country will be
insolvent and might shut down for good.
The Wharf Theatre, a renovated warehouse, situated on the canal in Devizes has been attracting
audience members, volunteers and creatives from all over Wiltshire and west Hampshire for over 40
years. The community venue, with capacity for 96 people, offers an array of community and
professional productions ranging from musicals, plays, talks, youth productions, schools shows,
comedians and concerts. The theatre hosts around 26 productions a year attracting more than 4000
visitors. The Wharf is supported by a team of over 80 volunteers, 200 members and has been
registered as an asset of community value by Wiltshire Council.
Oli Beech, Chairman, says “Community theatre is a unique setting in that being on stage is one small
part of the whole organisation, our theatre has something for everyone, an array of performance art
mediums, support backstage, managing a venue, hosting community, schools and local amateur
dramatic groups as well as professional work, and providing workshops.”
Proceeds from donations, venue hire, and self-produced productions contribute to the overheads
and ongoing maintenance of the theatre. Keeping the venue open costs around £60,000 per year.
Sadly, due to the COVID pandemic, the theatre had to close its doors in March 2020. This would
normally be the start of the Spring/ Summer programme. This entire season has now been cancelled
resulting in a £30,000 shortfall in income. With no income, and yet utilities, rent, performance rights,
production budgets, and outstanding invoices to be paid the theatre is now running very low on
reserves. Various grant applications have been made and the trustees are awaiting the outcome of
these applications. However, they are looking to the local community to support the theatre by
donating much-needed money. A Just Giving fundraising campaign is being launched;
Mr Beech added, “We cannot see our beautiful little community theatre close due to this pandemic.
We are seeking funding to support and enable the theatre to survive past this, meaning we can open
our doors once more as a venue for people to explore theatre. Search for our Just Giving Page to
support us, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to make a personal donation and follow our social
It is our intention however, not to so as much cancel, but postpone all planned shows until such time as advise from health officials regarding public gatherings should change and, pending adjustments to performance licenses, we will continue from where we left off. My apologies to all affected ticket holders and to the casts of the affected shows but I’m sure you understand the difficult situation we currently face. All the hard work to stage such shows will not have been in vain however, delay is the prime intention and we eagerly await seeing the fruits of the casts’ labours in the not too distant future.
We also intend to liaise with outside hires and hopefully find new dates on which they could come back to us - I must again stress that rescheduling depends entirely on government advice as the situation changes. I ask that everyone bear in mind, as this is a developing situation there is very little to go by in terms of how long this may last, we therefore kindly ask that all concerned check our website and social media accounts for any updates regarding the continuation of normal service at the Wharf. I also ask that all ticket holders please be patient during this uncertain time and to assure them that we are working towards finding new dates for the affected shows with the intention of transferring tickets to the new dates. As more regarding rescheduling becomes clear, we will contact all ticket holders affected to keep them in the loop. Thank you all for your cooperation with us during these unprecedented circumstances. I remind you to check our social media pages and website at regular intervals for any updates and I look forward to welcoming you all back as soon as possible.
I should just like to finish by wishing everyone the very best of health and remind you all not to go out panic buying but to leave the shelves full for those that really need it; keep washing your hands (as if you weren’t anyway!) and, above all, look out for one another - make sure the vulnerable folk around you are looked after and have all they need. Thank you once again for your understanding during this difficult patch and rest assured, normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.
Oli Beech | Chairman
SS20 is here | Click cover to see more!
Director seeks lead guitar, bass guitar, drummer & second pianist.
Please send John Winterton an email expressing your interest : email@example.com
AW19 is here | Click cover to see more!
WITH SYMPATHY | 23 April 2019
All of us at the Wharf Theatre have been saddened by the news of the death of Derek Morrissey, a former Chairman and Artistic Director of the theatre, who worked on the original refurbishment of the old council warehouse to make it the building it is today.
Derek will also be remembered for the many superb performances he gave over the years, notably Salieri in Amadeus, Dr Rank in A Doll’s House and the title role in Scrooge. He also played major parts in Gigi, On Golden Pond, The Diary of Anne Frank and many more. Many of these productions were directed by his long-term partner, Deanna Capper. He also worked with her on devising one-off evenings of music and readings for specific occasions.
Derek was Artistic Director from 1979, when the theatre moved from Couch Lane to it's present home, until 1984 and then again from 1992. Under his leadership the company’s commitment to theatre aiming at professional standards was established.
Current Artistic Director, Lewis Cowen, writes: “It has been my privilege to work with Derek on numerous occasions and his performance as Salieri made my production of Amadeus in 1994 the success it undoubtedly was. His dedication to creating the very best of theatre for our audiences has been an inspiration to me and every time I look at the season I have devised, I think, would Derek approve?”
Derek Morrissey & Deanna Capper in GIGI
30 April - 8 May 2010
DINNER AND A SHOW?
Receive a 10% discount off your food bill when you show your theatre tickets at The Crown New Park Street, The Bear Hotel Market Place or The Three Crowns Maryport Street. Grateful thanks to Wadworth for their continued support.
THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING!
Our stunning new gift vouchers are now available! To buy, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
It was a sad day earlier this year when the wonderful Sir Ken Dodd passed away. Many of you may not know, but he was in fact, our Patron and so our search for someone with equal stage presence began.
We are more than pleased to announce that Christopher Biggins has accepted our invitation and we simply can't wait to show him around our waterside property!
"Having been brought up in Salisbury and on leaving school went to Salisbury repertory company for one production and stayed for two years, my theatrical career was well and truly on its way. Theatre has been in my blood for 53 years, so when I was asked to be a Patron of the Wharf Theatre I jumped at the chance. Also to take over from Ken Dodd, who was a good friend of mine was the cherry on top of the cake. I look forward to being involved in all the Wharf does."
Yours Biggins x
WHARF THEATRE QUAY AWARDS
We are delighted to announce the QUAY AWARD winners for 2018/19 are:
The cast of our next fabulous production "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" larking around at the Roman Baths in Bath!
The Theatre stages approximately eight productions every year and plays host to up to four visiting professional and amateur companies annually. Our active Wharf Youth Theatre also stages one major production in the summer.
At The Wharf Theatre, we offer the opportunity to hire the theatre for -
- Private Functions including weddings
- Corporate Functions including meetings
- One or two night performances by outside companies
- Rehearsal space
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We are delighted to announce that our new Town Centre Box Office is sited at the Devizes Community Hub & Library! Pop in Monday to Friday, 9am until 5pm.
Our thanks to Wiltshire Council for building this partnership!