Rondo Theatre’s deputy director Pippa Thornton and director Ian McGlynn

News from The Rondo Theatre. By Harry Mottram.

Bath is blessed with several theatres although until recently they were dark with nothing happening due to Covid-19.

Each is unique carving out a particular programme – for the Rondo Theatre in Larkhall the emphasis is on new writing and new productions.After a long period with nothing on the theatre is getting back to doing what it does best by staging a full programme this autumn.

The artistic director Ian McGlynn explained: “It’s our biggest schedule so far with 35 or more shows.“The highlights for me include Scream Phone which is a comedy take on 90s girl films and 90s horror movies.” Pippa Thornton the theatre’s deputy director said that most shows will contact the Rondo although she and Ian will go to places like The Edinburgh fringe to source new productions.

Ian said: “Our intention is to focus on new writing and new emerging companies to help them to establish their work.“We have a good group of local companies such as Beyond The Horizon who are staging Macbeth.“There’s Black Dog Theatre, Dumb Blonde Company and Pippa’s company Flipside.”

Pippa said they give local companies rehearsal space to support and nurture their talent.“We have a lot of community support which was confirmed when we made an appeal during the Covid crisis,” said Pippa, “which was incredible.”

Just before Covid the theatre had been on a roll with sold out shows – so the lockdown came at the wrong time. They had a short summer season with 50% capacity and of course the bar helps to fund the theatre which has no external funding as it is a self-supporting charity. “We operate from ticket and bar sales,” said Ian, “we hope to replace our seating in the future which we will do a special fundraising. “We tend not to apply for grants as there are strings attached although we did get a grant from the Arts Council during covid but that was a one off.”

Both Ian and Pippa discovered theatre and drama at primary school with Ian playing Chrysophylax Dives in Farmer Giles of Ham, while Pippa’s moment of realisation was a spider in the Nativity. The theatre opened in 1989 in the former St Saviours Church in Larkhall.

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