The Swallow Theatre near Whithorn is Scotland’s smallest theatre and is looking ahead optimistically and planning for the long-term future. Since opening in the mid 1990s in a former cow byre, hundreds of professional and amateur performers have entertained thousands of local people and visitors from further afield with high quality entertaining and thought-provoking plays and concerts.
In recent years the theatre has seen increased visitor numbers and has expanded the range and number of events it presents. However, since March, along with other entertainment venues throughout the country, the theatre has been closed due to the ongoing pandemic crisis.
One of the projects planned for this year was a fundraising campaign to replace the agricultural type theatre roof which has been exposed to the fiercest of winds, rains and summer heat and is now showing its age, with increasing damage and wear and tear, and needs to be replaced.
The Swallow Theatre is independently owned and operated and receives no regular funding or external financial support. It relies entirely on audience ticket sales, donations and sponsorship.
The venue tries to keep ticket prices as affordable as possible for the widest group of people and therefore has no reserves to fund this major work. During the Covid-19 pandemic, like all similar venues, the theatre has not been allowed to open and has had to cancel all performances for the immediate future, including their planned roof appeal fundraising events.
The theatre is currently participating in the national #SaveOurTheatres Crowdfunder campaign organised by Theatres Trust which aims to help theatres raise much needed funds to help them through this crisis and to look forward to the future when they are allowed to reopen.
It’s a really difficult time for many individuals and businesses and The Swallow Theatre appeal for help has had a great response so far. “We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who has donated or pledged for one of the offered rewards, or who have sent us messages of support which are a real morale boost,” said the owners. So far, including donations received prior to the current campaign, they have already raised nearly £10,000 of the £20,000 needed to undertake the roof replacement.
The Swallow Theatre Roof Appeal campaign runs until 3 November during which time Crowdfunder are waiving their normal fees so 100% of donations will go to the theatre. If the necessary funds can be raised by then it means the theatre can be renovated during this enforced period of closure, securing its future for years to come. For pledges and donations of £25 or more the theatre is offering the opportunity to have a personal name, business name, quote or inspirational words of choice on a tile that will be added to a commemorative roof appeal mural which will be displayed at the rear of the auditorium once the work has been completed. For more details of this offer and others, and to make a donation, find out more on the theatre’s website at www.swallowtheatre.co.uk