Fun & laughter in Yeovil

From its lush country park to an award-winning theatre, Yeovil has much more to offer than just shopping. Sarah Ford finds out more.

Fun & laughter in  Yeovil

From its lush country park to an award-winning theatre, Yeovil has much more to offer than just shopping. Sarah Ford finds out more.

Most of us know Yeovil as a popular shopping destination, but this Autumn there is also a packed programme of dance, drama, music and comedy to tempt you into the theatre.Let the kids enjoy the great outdoors at Yeovil Country Park or burn off some energy in a brand new adventure play area which will challenge and excite them!

Award-winning theatreStaff at The Octagon Theatre have had more than one reason to celebrate this year. Not only has Manager Adam Burgan won a national award, but ticket sales are also up for performances.Adam says he was delighted to have won Theatre Manager of the Year, which is voted for by artists, producers, other theatres and readers of the Encore Magazine.“I think it recognises what a fantastic team I have at The Octagon, from our very talented staff, our dedicated team of volunteers in the Foyer Club, the brilliant artists who come and perform here (both professional and amateur), the support from the staff and councillors at South Somerset District Council who own, fund and manage the venue, and our wonderful audiences.“It is all these people who make the Octagon the special place that it is.”The Octagon sells around 95,000 tickets annually for performances but the theatre receives an estimated 160,000 visitors due to the many non-ticketed events, the gallery and its very busy Octagon Academy.“People of all ages take part in classes each week and they bring a huge ‘buzz’ to the theatre,” Adam adds.“We were thrilled recently to win an ‘Our Street’ award from the students at Lufton College. This is the second year in a row that we have won the award which recognises business who provide an ‘excellent’ service’ to the students with special needs.

“The Octagon is a vital part of life in South Somerset. Everyone knows us and where we are and for many people they have grown up with us.”

Take a magical carpet ride to old Peking with Aladdin at this year’s Octagon pantomime (13 December – 6 January). For details on this and a programme of events visit Box Office: 01935 422884

Theatre at the SwanSituated in Park Street, the Swan rides itself in being one of the best equipped little theatres in the West of England.Chairman Dick Bennett says the theatre has a high reputation for its plays. And thanks to the hard work of members over the last 40 years, the venue provides a wonderful facility for other groups to use.His vision for the Swan is as a vibrant centre of theatrical work for the area.“We are talking to a youth theatre group about forming a closer mutually supportive relationship, forming closer links with the wider artistic community in Somerset and Dorset, introducing workshop and rehearsed readings of a wider repertoire to introduce our audience to different, possibly more challenging plays, and generally raise our profile.”Forthcoming productions from the Swan Theatre Company include That Face by Polly Stenham, 19-24 November 01935 428646;

Best Farm ShopThe Apple Tree Farm Shop at Brimsmore Gardens in Yeovil has walked away with a top accolade at the 2012 Garden Centre Association (GCA) awards.Part of The Gardens Group, it was awarded Best Farm Shop in the Wales and the West region at the GCA awards, which are renowned in the industry.Cath Collins, manager of The Apple Tree Farm Shop says: “I was bouncing off the walls when I heard we had won. We’ve worked really hard for the last five years; listening to what our customers want, going out to meet local producers and finding the very best food and drink from our area.”Contact The Apple Tree Farm Shop on 01935 426596;

Playtime!Local residents, schools and groups had their say in the design of an exciting adventure park in town.The Milford Adventure Park now has a new range of equipment such as lookout towers and a double zip line.Cllr Peter Gubbins, who is the Chair of the Steering Group for Milford Adventure Park, says it would not have been possible without key grants from Viridor Credits, South Somerset District Council and Yeovil Town Council.“I thank these organisations for their valuable support. In addition to these key grants I must also thank the Well Being of Yeovil, Yarlington Housing Group and the Yeovil Recreation Charity for their generous donations and support which have enabled us to deliver a facility that the local community can be proud of.” 

For more details on facilities in Yeovil visit;

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