Our Response to the Community Consultation

We want to take this opportunity to thank you for taking the time to complete our recent survey about The Mowlem. We are very grateful. Without your input into this process, it would not be possible to learn what you, as a town, love about The Mowlem and what change needs to happen. We want to make The Mowlem the thriving cultural centre Swanage deserves. A venue which not only reflects the needs of the town throughout winter but also caters for our many valued visitors in our summer season. Here are a few things you said in the survey.

“The Mowlem could become THE cultural destination in Dorset”

Response Rate:

The response shows a very promising level of interest and investment in making The Mowlem the ‘cultural heart of Swanage’. We had a huge 1,569 responses, a sample size of over 10% of the population of Swanage! Over 450 people wanted to be added to the mailing list.

“We want a more welcoming atmosphere. Easier access to facilities. A feeling that this was our community place to use.”

Social Spaces:

You told us you want your cultural trip to be a social event and you want a building which supports this. ‘Bring back the bar’ was a frequent comment!


People often commented they wanted more diverse programming, with more mainstream theatre and cinema, art exhibitions, concerts and comedy evenings. Most often people wanted The Mowlem to make stronger connections with Swanage and Purbeck’s many festivals. PAW, Purbeck Film Festival, Blues and Jazz Festivals, ArtsReach and Arts by The Sea were some of the festivals that you mentioned.

“Events and performances accessible to young people. They are the people who will support The Mowlem in the future.”

Education, Community Outreach & Programming:

You asked for The Mowlem to make stronger links with local schools as well as the provision of community outreach events, workshops, talks & lectures, classes, Q&As, adult education and youth theatre and music groups within the building. You want a pricing structure and offers that mean The Mowlem of the future is open to all. This suggestion went hand in hand with a desire to open up the space to the community, with a return to the committee room being widely used by local groups and a cafe open to all.

“Better website functionality and the ability to book seats online”

Brand and Communication:

You wanted The Mowlem to have a strong brand, better communication and advertising so people know what’s on. During the lockdown, we fully embraced the 21st Century and updated the website to enable you to book seats online! We hope to further develop the website soon.

'Get to know' The Mowlem:

People want to get to know us at The Mowlem and learn who we are. This mirrors your feelings that you want us to ‘open up The Mowlem’ so the venue feels like yours. We want to be an approachable venue, eager to listen and learn from our community.

Finally, please can we take this opportunity to say thank you again for your support and feedback. We will be in touch with more information about what the survey told us and to let you know about some of our plans for The Mowlem. Watch this space for the new work we hope to support and for opportunities to meet our trustees!

“Better website functionality and the ability to book seats online”