AFTER six months of turmoil over their futures, two of Wiltshire’s small theatres are able to reopen their doors this autumn.

The doors will open and the lights go up again at The Athenaeum Theatre in Warminster next weekend, after it has been dark for six months, the first time this has happened for 20 years.

Plans had been in hand for a glittering gala and dinner to celebrate the 170th anniversary of the opening of Warminster's Victorian gem of a theatre, especially as it coincided with the 20th anniversary of its new status as a charitable trust, the Athenaeum Centre for the Community.

Now, on September 26 and 27, audiences will be back again, not for a gala but for a Save The Ath concert, featuring four young performers from the town who started their stage careers there.

Because of social distancing, there are only limited seats each night, at £15, and they have to be booked in groups of four seats/three seats/two seats/one seat, and each group must be booked as a whole. Strict Covid-19 measures will be in force, so there will be no bar. Facemasks must be worn.

Adela Forestier-Walker, who is one of the Ath trustees, explained: “We were planning on a really glitzy celebration for the last weekend in September with a Gala performance and a Celebration Dinner; sadly Covid-19 put paid to that for the time being.

“The performers are all recipients of the Sheila Toomey Award, Cecilia de Maria, Carl Daniels, Arabella Fairgrieve and Joely Hudson, have got themselves organised to bring some celebration back with our Save The Ath Concert, in honour of the theatre where they first performed as children, not least supported by accompanists and tech support to whom we are so grateful.”

Performing in Save the Ath are Cecilia de Maria, Carl Daniels, Anabella Fairgrieve and Joely Hudson. Online booking only at

The Wharf Theatre in Devizes is preparing to re-open its doors with a tempting trio of rehearsed readings and plays between October and December. Since being forced to close in March the team have been working tirelessly to keep things afloat.

Last year’s chairman, Oli Beech said: “Our dear little theatre is back in the black after a close encounter with disaster. The call went out and boy, was it answered. We’ve had donations pouring in, generous members and locals passing the hats around, bake sale proceeds, even an overwhelming donation of £10,000. We are so thankful to everyone who has helped us either financially or with their many words of support and encouragement.”

The team have hosted three costume sales to raise further funds; completely updated their website and launched a YouTube channel to keep people entertained with monologues and some short behind the scene films.

Debby Wilkinson, the new artistic director, said: “Restrictions are beginning to lift but with social distancing still very much in place, anything we do in the theatre itself will be limited.”

Only 30 tickets are available for each performance, from 03336 663 366; or at the Devizes Community Hub and Library on Sheep Street, Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm

The shows are: a rehearsed reading of My Mother Said I Never Should on October 16/17; a rehearsed reading of Adam and the Gurglewink on November and six nights and a matinee of Collected Grimm Tales from December 14-19.