MORE than 1,000 pupils from schools around Swindon will be enjoying a taste of the theatre this week, welcoming 50 drama students who are bringing two free productions to town.

Around 40 of the students, from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, will be presenting two performances a day at the Carriage Works in Swindon. They’ll be performing a new version of the King Midas myth, aimed at primary school pupils, while a smaller group of second-year students will be taking their own production, Are We Gonna Go There?, which explores growing up and healthy relationships, to secondary schools.

Ben Buratta is a lecturer at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, and project director for The Midas Project. Born and bred in Swindon, he’s delighted to be bringing the work to his home town.

Brought up in Greenmeadow, Ben attended Hreod Parkway School before going on to Swindon College and then to the Central. He said: “It’s a pleasure to be returning home with this talented cast of students. I’m working with the first-years on The Midas Project which combines storytelling, movement and music.

“It’s definitely not your typical play: the audience will be bussed right into the Carriage Works so that they step off the bus into the world that we’ve created, and they then follow the characters around to discover the story. It’s a really big project with amazing lighting and sets, and should look really spectacular.”

The young actors and actresses are all studying on Central’s Drama, Applied Theatre and Education Course. Both productions are being delivered in partnership with Swindon Borough Council, which is providing transport and other resources, and Swindon’s Prime Theatre, which is managing relationships with schools.

Ben said: “Prime Theatre have been hugely supportive in helping us develop the show. It’s an adventurous project that will help the local community to look again at these historic buildings and see them in a new light.”

Coun Garry Perkins, Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet member for regeneration, said: “We are delighted to welcome the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. The project is a perfect example of how we want to breathe new life into our heritage buildings by finding innovative and creative uses for them.”

Members of the public aged eight and over can join in, with free tickets available for The Midas Project tomorrow night and Friday evening. Tickets can be reserved through or by calling Prime Theatre on 01793 614864.