Shoebox Theatre

Shoebox Theatre

At last! It’s been my intention to feature the small but perfectly formed Shoebox Theatre on here for ages of a crow. Yet somehow or other I’ve failed. Never mind – they’re here now!

Who or what are they?

shoebox theatre

The box office/cash desk/reception at the Shoebox Theatre

As it says on the about section of their website:

‘The Shoebox Theatre is a 50-seat flexible studio space in the heart of Swindon’s award winning GWR Railway Village. *

Managed by the Wrong Shoes Theatre Company, the space supports new and contemporary work, hosts an exciting programme of contemporary theatre and provides quality theatre training.’

*In truth the historic and important Health Hydro/Milton Rd baths lie just outside the boundary of the actual railway village conservation area. Though they are in the railway village.

Having been in the Artsite/Postmodern/old post office building on Theatre Square, the theatre company are now ensconced in Milton Road baths in the former laundry rooms. Here, in collaboration with GLL and the Wrong Shoes theatre company, they’ve converted these historic rooms into an affordable fringe theatre and rehearsal venue.

It seems to me that this theatre and arts space is a fabulous addition to Swindon’s cultural offering. I love that they have Swindon-born (well Purton but close enough for government work) Billie Piper as a patron! Before she filled our screens as Rose Tyler in Dr Who, my awareness of her had been a passing one. I’m sure as heck aware of her now as she’s gone from strength to strength. Well done Billie.



Having been in the Artsite/Postmodern/old post office building on Theatre Square, the theatre company are now ensconced in Milton Road baths in the former laundry rooms. Here, in collaboration with GLL and the Wrong Shoes theatre company, they’ve converted these historic rooms into an affordable fringe theatre and rehearsal venue.

It seems to me that this theatre and arts space is a fabulous addition to Swindon’s cultural offering. I love that they have Swindon-born (well Purton but close enough for government work) Billie Piper as a patron! Before she filled our screens as Rose Tyler in Dr Who, my awareness of her had been a passing one. I’m sure as heck aware of her now as she’s gone from strength to strength. Well done Billie.

An Interview with Luke Marquez

A superb way to find out more about Shoebox is to read this interview with Luke Marquez, the artistic director of the theatre.

He’s right in this: ‘Swindon has an abundance of talented young performers and emerging artists but, like me, they were seeking theatre out of town and more importantly they relied on creative opportunities further afield. We needed an affordable creative space to create new work and so do the other amazing talents in the town and that’s what we want to achieve with the Shoebox Theatre.’

The theatre runs an educational programme, with weekly classes for beginners, advanced classes for the more experienced. Also weekly stage combat classes and masterclasses with theatre professionals. Find out more about the theatre’s education programme here.

All in all Shoebox Theatre is a perfect fit. No blisters here! Long may that continue.

The theatre on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wrongshoestheatre





SWINDON Charity Appeals for Monthly Financial Support

SWINDON Charity Appeals for Monthly Financial Support


Latest news from Swindon Night Shelter

SWINDON Night Shelter, the charity that provides support for rough sleepers, the homeless and those whose housing leaves them vulnerable, has launched two fund-raising schemes to help them become more financially sustainable.

Celebrating ten years in 2019, Swindon Night Shelter has grown and developed its services and has helped thousands of people over the last decade. Yet maintaining these services is costly for an organisation which receives no grant funding from government – either on a national or local level.

This month, they have launched both a Friends of Swindon Night Shelter initiative and a business sponsorship scheme to help meet monthly bills.

Organiser Becky Davison said: ‘We feel privileged to have helped others as part of this Christian-based organisation. We wish to continue this work. To do that we we need financial sustainability. These schemes will help us to achieve it.’

Swindon Night Shelter and its army of volunteers support five main projects around homelessness in the town:

*The Haven – a drop in day centre on Queen’s Drive which opened in January.
*The Hub – a café on Clive Parade, Cricklade Road, Pinehurst offering work experience.
*The Hive – warehouse for storage and work experience opportunities.
*The Shelter – the original service offered, a Friday night stay in St Mary’s Church Hall, Rodbourne Cheney with a hot meal.
*The Gate cafes – community cafes and pop up shop in the Parks and Penhill, set up to prevent homelessness, isolation and holiday hunger.

Becky and the team are now asking people to consider donating on a monthly basis to help with ongoing costs.

“A donation of £5 a month covers our internet costs for a month to support our guests with claims and accessing essential services online while they are with us. £10 a month covers the cost of a TV licence, allowing enjoyment of an activity most of us take for granted. £25 covers the road tax for our vans. They’re are on the road every day collecting food, donations and taking our guests to appointments or to a shelter,’ Becky explained.

The charity is also asking businesses around the town to consider donating on a more consistent basis too. There are opportunities to become:
*A main partner – £1000 a month which covers the cost of food and utility bills.
*An official business partner – £500 a month which pays the wages of a part-time donations coordinator.
*An official supplier – able to offer a range of free or heavily discounted services or products including an electrician, book-keeper or accountant.

Becky Davison, Swindon Night Shelter.

For more details on the opportunities on offer visit http://www.swindonnightshelter.uk or call 01793 613116 during office hours.



David Bent – Out of the Box

David Bent – Out of the Box

June 2019

Hello listeners. I appear to be reduced to sharing Linda Kasmaty’s blogs at the moment! Pfft.

The other day it was her post about Tim Carroll at the Bath Society of Arts Exhibition. Today it’s a Friends of Museum and Art Gallery post about David Bent’s recent talk to the friends. I was at that talk so don’t ask me what I was doing – or not doing – I’ve no idea.

There’s so much going on and I’ve got a business to run and Swindon Civic Voice stuff … hark, I hear violins! That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. So here’s a link to Linda’s post about David Bent’s ‘Out of the Box’ talk.

It’s really best to read Linda’s post but here’s a teeny extract:

David’s Father was, in his words  ‘an aviation nutcase’, he was also a brilliant aeromodeller whose first job was at Croydon airport working for Sir Alan Cobham a pioneering aviator . David & his dad watched the first public flight of the Red Arrows in 1965 together at Biggin Hill.’

David’s talk at Swindon’s museum and art gallery came close to the end of his Out of the Box exhibition there. It’s been a gorgeous exhibition with a super cross section of David’s output. Because, all though most known (it’s arguable) for his aviation work and his association with the Red Arrows, that isn’t all he does.

Visit his web site at David Bent Studio and you’ll see what I mean. I have of course, written about David more than once on this here blog so have a root through these posts here: https://swindonian.me/category/artscultureheritage/david-bent/

David’s exhibition garnered some super feedback as can be seen in this image from the Museum and Art gallery’s Twitter feed.

'Circus' by David Bent - David Bent out of the box
Circus’ by David Bent

NB: For only £15 a year, you can become a Friend and come along to their talks, join them on trips out to places like The Royal Academy and Pallant House Gallery.
There’s always something going on. To become a Friend or find out more about about them visit: www.friendsofsmag.org 

Tim Carroll at Bath Society of Artists

Tim Carroll at Bath Society of Artists

It’s always fab to have some nice news to share on Born again Swindonian about any one of the lovely artists here in Swindon.

This post is about Tim Carroll and the Bath Society of Artists Open Exhibition 2019, for whom he’s the exhibition organiser.

Not only is one of Tim’s paintings, Orangerie, on the exhibition poster, he also has some paintings in the exhibition.

‘This highly popular exhibition showcases the best of the region’s artistic talent and is a must for art lovers and collectors alike, with all works for sale.

The Society was founded in 1904 with 26 members. It has grown over the years to a membership of around 120 diverse, talented artists.

Many distinguished 20th-century painters have exhibited with the Society including Walter Sickert, Patrick Heron, Mary Fedden and Howard Hodgkin.’

Gardens, galleries and walking around

On her lovely blog, Gardens, galleries and walking around, Tim’s partner Linda and great mate of mine, has put a post on her blog about Tim Carroll at Bath Society of artists and the opening night at the Victoria Art Gallery. With Tim being exhibition organiser, Linda has all the ‘behind the scenes’ info. As she says in her blog, it’s a tremendous undertaking to select and gather work together to exhibit in the wonderfully prestigious Victoria Art Gallery.

And a few more photos below:


Other Swindon artists – see also:

  1. David Bent: https://swindonian.me/category/artscultureheritage/david-bent/
  2. Ken White: https://swindonian.me/category/artscultureheritage/ken-white/
  3. Marilyn Trew: https://swindonian.me/2019/03/19/marilyn-trew-artist/
  4. Dona Bradley: https://swindonian.me/2019/02/02/dona-bradley-architectural-illustrator/

Switch on To Swindon: TechSwindon launch event at Nationwide Building Society HQ

Switch on To Swindon: TechSwindon launch event at Nationwide Building Society HQ

7th June 2019

Switch on To Swindon: TechSwindon launch event .

A campaign to support and promote Swindon’s growing digi-tech community launched last night to a packed business networking event at Nationwide Building Society’s Pipers Way headquarters.

And below a few photographs from Elmar Rubio photography:

TechSwindon is a Switch on To Swindon (SOTS) branded project. It will work with organisations and business groups to run a series of meet-up events for start-ups, micros, SMES and larger companies. These companies either provide digi-tech products and services or are reliant on it to do business. 

The year-long campaign will culminate in a two-day summit in spring 2020. The summit will have high-profile speakers from Swindon and around the world. In venues across the town it will welcome up to 1,000 visitors a day.

The aim of the campaign is twofold:

  1. To work with partners to enhance Swindon’s digi-tech cluster 
  2. To showcase its impressive capability to attract inward investment and a pipeline of additional skilled staff to allow business growth.

DigiTech is a strong and growing industry. Swindon boasts the UK’s 3rdmost productive tech sector with over 2,800 companies. In Swindon and Wiltshire there are over 25,000 companies delivering digi-tech products and services. And over 25,000 companies reliant on digi-tech to operate.

Jenny Groves, Chair of Switch on To Swindon said “We use the Switch On brand to promote Swindon as the destination of choice to live, work and do business.

Our 600 plus passionate ambassadors provide their time and support to share these positive messages. Both local businesses and new investors are set to benefit from the TechSwindon focus on attracting and developing additional talent. This alongside the timely recent announcement of Institute of Technology funding for Swindon College and partners”. 

After the last SOTS event, local design company Bravedog won a competition to develop a Big Idea. They have worked in partnership with Ambassadors and Swindon Borough Council to create the concept of TechSwindon.

A number of businesses have already signed up to support the campaign, and lots more opportunities for business engagement and promotion will be announced over the coming weeks. 

Switch On To Swindon is proud to unveil Nationwide Building Society as its first TechSwindon sponsor. Last night, Nationwide confirmed its support and sponsorship of the year-long campaign to build and promote Swindon’s tech capability. 

Also at the Switch On To Swindon event, over 400 delegates heard Nationwide Building Society’s latest news and a business in the community round up from Shirley Ludford of Swindon 105.5.

They were wowed too by demonstrations from some of Swindon’s digi-tech community.

Councillor Oliver Donachie, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for the Economy and Place, said: “Advances in digi-tech are essential to Swindon’s industrial growth in all of its key sectors, particularly advanced manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, business finance and professional services and logistics.

“I am delighted we have launched the TechSwindon campaign, which will keep Swindon at the forefront of this dynamic sector.”

For more information, visit www.switchontoswindon.com, email kris@techswindon.org or call 07736 839042.

Outside the Nationwide HQ there was something of a motor show going on. Despite the fact that cars are lost on me – I’m a non-driver – the car that runs on hydrogen is interesting.

See other Switch on to Swindon related posts here: https://swindonian.me/category/switch-on-to-swindon/

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