The Swan Theatre is a 360 seater 1960’s purpose-built theatre. Since 1965 the Swan Theatre has served as an artistic hub at the centre of the community in Worcester and from 1967 the Worcester Repertory Company, founded by John Hole, has called this venue "home".
Swan Theatre is home to Worcester Repertory Company, as well as an eclectic mix of touring productions of various genres including music, theatre, dance, spoken word, and comedy. The theatre is one of the busiest in the area with sometimes six performances taking place in the main house and studio spaces during a single day. It also continues to provide a much-needed performance space for a host of amateur theatre companies.
In 2011 the building was given a new lease of life with new air handling, interior seating, balcony and the refurbishment and development of the theatre's studio block. The Swan Theatre remains a vibrant hub of creative activity in Worcestershire and continues to provide a home to both professional and amateur artists.
In 1957 the City of Worcester closed the doors on the Theatre Royal which had been built in 1779 and started life as the Angel Street Theatre. The Theatre Royal had fallen into disrepair, considered a financial burden and closed its doors before being demolished shortly afterwards. The idea for a new theatre for city has been considered for sometime until, in 1962, a meeting of the Society for the Advancement of Music and Arts (SAMA) and the City Council endorsed a resolution to create a holding company to plan and raise £50,000 for the building of a new theatre. The Worcester City Council pledged £10,000 to the campaign and the search for a suitable site and architect commenced.
Henry Gorst was appointed as the theatre's architect and the resulting plans showed the first theatre in England specifically designed with disabled patrons in mind. A suitable site was found in an area next to the Worcester Racecourse and in 1963 the foundation stone was laid by Dame Peggy Ashcroft.
Fundraising continued and in 1965 the theatre opened its doors. The theatre was run entirely by volunteers until 1967 when a more professional approach to theatre management was required to ensure the smooth running of the venue and stronger financial stability. John Hole was appointed as the theatre's director and with his tenure came the founding of the Worcester Repertory Company. With David Wood and Sam Walters as Associate Directors the company went from strength to strength and it was not long until it made its first West End transfer with A Present from the Corporation, Terence Brady and Julia McKenzie.
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