It's April Fools' Day, which means that several businesses and organisations in Swindon have been making fake announcements.

But the Wyvern Theatre's well-intentioned offering was met with a negative reaction - with one person saying it was the most offensive April Fools' joke it had seen. 

The theatre has now been forced to issue a public apology on social media, explaining that it never intended to cause any offence.

It revealed plans to rename the building UNiTY, decorating the outside of the theatre with an elaborate rainbow design that would be carried out by an artist called 'Fay Kinnett'.

The theatre's subsequent Facebook post read: "This morning's post was put together by our LGBTQ+ staff and was enthusiastically supported by Swindon & Wiltshire Pride’s community end engagement officer prior to posting.

"In no way was our post intended to cause offence, or play down the importance of diversity, inclusion, and acceptance. Quite the opposite.

"We have been working with Swindon & Wiltshire Pride and InSwindonBID on several projects including extending the Rainbow Walk across Theatre Square and a Platinum Jubilee celebration.

"Sadly, after several months of discussion, permission was not granted nor funding secured, but we will be continuing to pursue future projects and collaborations.

Swindon Advertiser:

"We would absolutely LOVE to be able rebrand the theatre in this way and reinforce the importance of unity, diversity and inclusivity in everything we do.

"We wholeheartedly apologise for any offence that our post may have caused."

The original post said: "Thanks to the generosity of a private benefactor, we’re delighted to announce the Wyvern Theatre will be rebranding to become UNiTY; Swindon’s latest art instillation – Representing Diversity, Inclusivity and Acceptance. Inspired by Swindon’s Rainbow Walk, Artist Faye Kinnett has be commissioned to create the new design.

"Laura James, Theatre director, said ‘We’re so excited to be playing such a central role in this new celebration of Swindon and its people. Rebranding the theatre to UNiTY is a crucial step in highlighting the fact the unity isn’t about “i”, but about “U”."

Swindon Advertiser:

But some people weren't happy that the theatre seemed to be making light of inclusivity, diversity and equality efforts with the joke. 

One person said: "It was quite possibly the most offensive April Fools' I’ve ever seen. Diversity, inclusivity and acceptance should never be used as the butt of a joke, and using them as one is incredibly damaging.

"In my opinion, everything the pride steps stand for has been belittled."