PRIME Theatre Company kick off celebrations for their 30th anniversary with a radio play for BBC Wiltshire written by Horrible Histories author Terry Deary.
Prime aims to create a theatrical experience to inspire children and young adults of all backgrounds. It is a registered charity led by Mark Powell, the artistic director, who says he can feel that sense of change in Swindon and wants his team to be part of that.
He first worked for Sixth Sense from 2001 to 2004 as Youth & Education Director. He spent the next ten years as Associate Director at Salisbury Playhouse before coming back to Swindon.
"We acknowledge the value of children, young theatre makers and technicians,'' he said. "We make sure young people engage with professional theatre not just in Swindon but further afield including Bolton, Brighton Rep, Belfast and hopefully the Lincoln Centre in America.''
Mark has a five-strong staff working alongside him, and professional actors join the company for various performances or workshops.
Prime asked the well known author Terry Deary to write a script for a radio play to be set in Wiltshire. The story is based on two children who have gone to visit the re-opened medieval chained-libraries and mistakenly let loose the mythical Wyvern. They have to run all across Swindon and Wiltshire to track it down before it brings destruction in its wake.
Taking the part of the girl in The Wyvern of Wiltshire is Emilia Midwinter, 13, from Swindon who joined Prime because she wanted to do drama outside of school plays.
"We are working with the professional actors on the play. It is quite different as you can only use your voice to act out the scenes,'' said Emilia.
Joining Emilia as the young boy in the Wyvern of Wiltshire is 14-year-old Vlad.
Daniel Tuersley, 14, who has appeared in the last two Prime productions The Odyssey and 20/46 thoroughly enjoyed working on the radio play.
Daniel said: "We did a term studying radio plays. The last radio production was Singing Together based on the story of modern day children finding a buried time capsule of items belonging to evacuees during the war. It was the story of the evacuees.''
Prime involved more than 200 young singers in that project from schools and groups all over Swindon.
Daniel and Emelia both belong to Prime Youth Theatre, which is run by associate director Aaron Parsons who organises weekly workshops, masterclasses, performance projects and productions for five to 25-year-olds.
Aaron is helped by Prime Ministers, Ellis Evason and Daisy Jesson.
Aaron said: "The Prime Ministers will report back from each theatre group on their discussions and their ideas, and that feeds into our activities.''
Ellis joined Prime when he was only seven and has embraced every part of the theatre company including writing scenes for The Odyssey and acting in the last two productions.
"Also the social side of belonging to Prime is huge,'' said Ellis. "It is a big part of my life, a good part of my life and has a family feel. Since becoming a Youth Theatre Assistant I have tried to become involved with all aspects. It is important that in our 30th year we showcase the work we do.''
Emilia agrees: "It is a nice environment and everyone is so friendly.''
For Daisy, Prime is a stepping stone to a career in theatre. She joined five years ago when she was 14, taking the drama workshops, and now is enjoying helping others to improve.
"I have improved my skills and the opportunities are fantastic. Prime opens doors,'' she said.
For Aaron it is not only about nurturing the aspiring actors of the town but of offering a whole range of theatre skills including backstage skills.
He said: "We have a technical crew involved with every production. We have opportunities for assistant designers who team up with our creative team to study lighting, set design, props, sound and stage management.''
The theatre company, which is based at the Wyvern Theatre in Swindon, frequently works out in the community with youth groups, schools, colleges, libraries and museums.
Aaron said: "The arts are being squeezed out of curriculums so teachers are recommending students to come to us and we take every opportunity to work with schools.''
Prime Theatre Company is an Arts Award Centre with trained advisers and is no stranger to awards.
Mark said: "We won the Pride of Swindon team award this year and we were Runner-Up for Wiltshire Life Arts and Culture Award.''
For more details of Prime or to join visit http://www.primetheatre.co.uk/about
Panel: Prime Theatre dates for shows in their anniversary year
• The Wyvern of Wiltshire by Terry Deary broadcast on BBC Wiltshire Monday, May 27 to Friday, June 9 (part of Salisbury International Arts Festival)
• Punk Rock by Simon Stephens at the Wyvern Theatre, from Tuesday, August 1 to Thursday, August 3, features a live band.
• This is Our Town at STEAM, from Wednesday November 23 to Saturday, November 24
• Butterfly, early years, funded by the Arts Council, in the autumn 2017
• The Collector (about Charles Gore, founder of Swindon Museum) primary in December 2017