Swindon Arts Centre has been announced as the winner of most welcoming theatre in the South West 2018 at the UK Theatre Awards.  The venue will also compete for the overall title of ‘UK’s Most Welcoming Theatre’ at the awards ceremony in October.

UK Theatre has announced the regional and national winners of this year’s Most Welcoming Theatre award, after an unprecedented 56,000 votes were cast by members of the public.Part of the annual UK Theatre Awards, Most Welcoming Theatre is an opportunity for audiences across the country to celebrate their local theatre. All the regional and national winners will be invited to the Awards on Sunday 14 October at London’s Guildhall, where an overall winner will be announced.

The Arts Centre, which is operated by HQ Theatres on behalf of Swindon Borough Council, won the award, despite competition from a large number of other venues across the South West. Last year’s winner was the Wyvern Theatre, making this two consecutive wins for Swindon Theatres.

A dedicated pool of staff and volunteers are behind the success for the Arts Centre and the Wyvern – priding themselves on providing a welcoming and inclusive environment, as well as excellent customer service. Customer feedback is consistently high for the Arts Centre across platforms including Trip Advisor and the venue is consistently rated ‘excellent’ in HQ Theatres’ mystery shopper surveys.

Director of Swindon Theatres, Derek Aldridge said, “I am thrilled that Swindon Arts Centre and the staff that work there have been recognised for the welcome they deliver.  So often the Arts Centre is Swindon’s best kept secret but we know that people’s first visit is rarely their last and it is a magical place to watch live entertainment.

Cassie Chadderton, Head of UK Theatre, said, ‘It is fantastic to see a record-breaking number of people all over the country casting votes in support of their local theatres this year. This award is a chance to recognise the importance of theatres as valuable cultural hubs, and the loyalty they can inspire by creating a fantastic audience experience – from friendly front-of-house service to engaging outreach projects and imaginative, entertaining programming.

The full list of nominations for this year’s UK Theatre Awards can be viewed here.


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