IT was a night to remember at Town Gardens as a summer of live theatre kicked off at the Bowl.

Performances by a variety of professional companies will take place at the iconic centrepiece of the park until August 20.

A rousing performance of Blithe Spirit raised the curtain on Theatre at the Bowl last weekend, with 150 people enjoying the show.

The programme of events is being organised by South Swindon Parish Council and coincides with the Bowl's 85th anniversary.

The parish council's chairman of leisure, environment and amenities Neil Hopkins said plans are underway to refurbish the unique venue.

He said: “We took over these parks in 2019 and soon after I prepared a commercial plan.

“The plan was to build revenues to be able to refurbish the bowl, this structure needs work.

“It’s not right for modern day needs, we have set up a project to look at how we will improve the Bowl.

“We don’t need to make money out of the Bowl, but if we can cover the cost of the refurbishment then it’s absolutely great because this structure is the only one of its type that I know of in the United Kingdom. 

“There will be some improvements made to the Bowl over the winter period, we’re struggling to find technical support at the moment.

“We’ve got some designs from a local heritage architect that will involve putting a pod on the Bowl and some facilities such as a changing area, kitchen, toilet and waiting area for performers.

“Swindon is blessed to have this and it’s our job within the parish council to maintain it.

“It’s great to have live theatre back and we have an iconic space in Town Gardens.”

“Bringing some culture, bringing these events to Swindon is a joy. The community is what we’re about. They are the number one priority. These events are very much about what we need to do as a parish council."

Chris Hawley, the artistic director at BlackBox Theatre Company, was thrilled to have people back in attendance for the company’s performance .

He said: “It’s a joy, it’s what actors live for, getting out and performing in front of a live audience.

“On this tour, more so than any other, the gratitude from people for being outside and getting to see something live has been nice. 

"The arts are sometimes underappreciated, certainly by politicians, but it’s a vital part of who we are as human beings, it’s something that should be celebrated.”

Theatre at the Bowl continues with King Arthur on Saturday, For  information see