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Wiltshire Creative announces its first season of programming for 2018-19

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18 May 2018


  • Regional premiere of Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s Her Naked Skin
  • European premiere of Agatha Christie’s The Mirror Crack’d, adapted by Rachel Wagstaff
  • A Wiltshire Tale journeys through local history and landscape in word and song
  • Guest Festival  Director and themes for 2019 Salisbury International Arts Festival announced
  • Lift Off! – a weekend of Cathedral fireworks and free entertainment to launch Wiltshire Creative
  • Bemerton Heath becomes first Associate Hub of Wiltshire Creative

Click here to view the brochure

Members' priority booking opens Tuesday 29 May

Public booking opens Tuesday 5 June

Wiltshire Creative – the new organisation that brings together Salisbury Arts Centre, Salisbury International Arts Festival and Salisbury Playhouse – today announces its first season of programming for 2018/19, marking a landmark moment for the arts in Salisbury and the South of England.

Highlights include the regional premiere of Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s Her Naked Skin, an epic drama of political and personal ambition marking the centenary of women’s suffrage in Britain, and the European stage premiere of Agatha Christie’s The Mirror Crack’d, adapted by Rachel Wagstaff and directed by Melly Still, in a co-production with Wales Millennium Centre.

Salisbury International Arts Festival will return from Friday 24 May to Sunday 9 June 2019 at venues across the city. One of our leading classical composers, Jonathan Dove has been appointed Guest Festival Director for 2019 – the year that he celebrates his 60th birthday. He will curate a thrilling programme of work, capturing the highlights of his varied and illustrious career.

Alongside Dove’s music, the 2019 Festival will mark two anniversaries of global significance. In 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon and in 1989 the Berlin wall came down, heralding the collapse of the Soviet bloc. The Festival will reflect on both inspirational moments and their contemporary resonances. The full Festival programme will be announced early in 2019.

A Wiltshire Tale is a piece of spoken word and song commissioned by Wiltshire Creative, from Marlborough-based singer-songwriter Nick Harper who journeys through the history, landscape and stories of this magical county. The show will be seen at venues across the South West as well as at Salisbury Arts Centre.

Other stage highlights include Silence by Nicola Werenowska, a new play about three generations of a Polish/British family, co-produced with the Mercury Theatre Colchester and Unity Theatre Liverpool, and a new production of Mike Leigh’s comic masterpiece Abigail’s Party, co-produced with Derby Theatre, the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch and Les Theatres de la Ville Luxembourg.

The August Bank Holiday weekend will play host to Lift Off! as fireworks, music, circus, theatre and dance explode in the city – a free party for residents and visitors to celebrate the new arts organisation and its first season of work. Working with Without Walls, the UK’s largest commissioner of outdoor art, Wiltshire Creative has commissioned a new dance piece from the Rosie Kay Dance Company and circus from Ockham’s Razor, to be performed during the weekend. Boots on the Ground, from Tangled Feet Theatre, will be an interactive theatre piece marking the 100th anniversary of the armistice, performed in the heart of Salisbury. The Salisbury Festival Chorus will perform Howard Moody’s opera PUSH, which tells the story of Simon Gronowski, who, as a boy, was pushed by his mother off a train bound for Auschwitz and survived.

Wiltshire Creative’s new season also includes Christmas productions at both its venues, Salisbury Playhouse and Salisbury Arts Centre. The latter will host Who Sleighed Santa?, a murder mystery dinner party with a festive twist, followed by comedy and the internationally renowned vocal harmony group The Spitfire Sisters. This year’s pantomime will be Beauty and the Beast by award-winning duo writer Andrew Pollard and director Ryan McBryde, which will run at Salisbury Playhouse, alongside the return of popular Christmas children’s musical The Night Before Christmas as well as A Christmas Carol adapted and performed by Guy Masterson.

Salisbury Arts Centre will continue to host a full season of NT Live and MET Live screenings including Ian McKellen as King Lear, Mark Gaitiss in The Madness of King George III, La Traviata and Carmen.

Visual arts include Our Naked Skin at Salisbury Arts Centre, a collaborative exhibition with Queer Britain, the national LGBTQ+ museum, exploring sexuality and gender identity in an historical context, and complementing the production of Her Naked Skin at Salisbury Playhouse.

Wiltshire Creative will balance its home-produced programme with the very best touring work across different art forms, including theatre from Hoipolloi and Clean Break, dance from Yorke Dance Company and Ballet Cymru, and music from The Kosmos Ensemble. Salisbury Playhouse will also play host to major national tours of Alan Bennett’s The Habit of Art starring Matthew Kelly and Tom Kempinski’s Duet For One starring Belinda Lang.

As part of our Take Part programme we are proud to announce Bemerton Heath as our first Associate Hub. All three legacy organisations have worked in the area previously at Sarum Academy, Woodlands Primary School and with Salisbury City Community Development Team. With these and other partners we will create an ongoing programme of activity with local residents. Wiltshire Creative will also run a broad Take Part programme that includes a Youth Theatre, Creative Learning, Further Education and a range of community groups such as Mind the Gap, Dance SIX-0, Zone Arts and Jigsaw Dance Company among others. See website or our brochure for details.

Darren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, said:
“It is fantastic to see Wiltshire Creative launch their first artistic programme which will deliver for local, national and international audiences. We’re delighted to have supported Wiltshire Creative through a transformational journey that builds on the exceptional legacy of Salisbury International Arts Festival, Salisbury Arts Centre and Salisbury Playhouse and ensures a resilient and sustainable future for the cultural offer in Wiltshire. This unique and pioneering business model is set to become a national exemplar of how organisations can work together in the face of financial challenges to ensure the benefits of art and culture for communities and audiences.”

Gareth Machin, Artistic Director of Wiltshire Creative, said:
“The success and identity of an arts organisation can only truly be defined and understood through the work that it creates and presents; through the experiences and opportunities it affords to laugh, to marvel, to think and to feel. On those terms, Wiltshire Creative is still a promise but one packed with creativity and ambition and a promise that I can’t wait to see come to fruition.”

Jonathan Dove, Guest Director for the 2019 Salisbury International Arts Festival, said:
“I'm very excited to be working with Salisbury Festival for my 60th Birthday, as our relationship goes back 30 years. My earliest published work was written for the 1989 Salisbury Festival, when I was Musician in Residence. I wrote four pieces for the festival that year, and also accompanied a silent film, and it was the beginning of my being a full-time composer. I wrote more music for Salisbury Cathedral in the 1990s, and then an opera, The Walk from the Garden, for the 2012 Salisbury Festival.  Next year’s festival will feature some wonderful musicians, and I’m enormously looking forward to all our events.”

The full Wiltshire Creative programme can be found at Members’ priority booking is from Tuesday 29 May and public booking is from Tuesday 5 June. Tickets can be booked by calling Ticket Sales on 01722 320333, or on our website.


For press enquiries please contact Lucy Rouse, PR & Communications Officer, on 01722 345166 or

Notes to Editors:

Wiltshire Creative is a new pan-arts organisation that brings together the energy and ambition of Salisbury Arts Centre, Salisbury International Arts Festival and Salisbury Playhouse. It is an ambitious and innovative joint arts offer that secures a bright future for audiences, artists and participants.

Wiltshire Creative is funded by Arts Council England, Wiltshire Council and Salisbury City Council. For further information visit