The Mill at Sonning secures £ 448,580 from Culture Recovery Fund, announces five in-house productions


The Mill at Sonning, the UK’s only dinner theater, received a grant of £ 448,550 from the government’s £ 1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help the organization recover and reopen.

More than £ 300million has been awarded to thousands of cultural organizations across the country, including The Mill at Sonning as part of the Culture Recovery Fund’s latest round of support, the Culture Secretary said.

The Sonning Mill will use the grant to allow instead to open with reduced capacity and help assure a hesitant audience. It will also pay for the substantial cost of COVID security, including testing and improving ventilation and air conditioning in the theater. Most importantly, it will help employ actors who have been severely affected during this pandemic.

More than £ 800million in grants and loans have already been made to support nearly 3,800 cinemas, performance venues, museums, heritage sites and other cultural organizations facing the immediate challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. The second round of awards will help organizations anticipate spring and summer and plan for reopening and recovery. After months of closures and cancellations to contain the virus and save lives, this funding will be a much needed helping hand for organizations as they return to normal in the months to come.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “Our record-breaking culture revival fund has already helped thousands of cultural and heritage organizations across the country survive the biggest crisis they have faced. . Now we stand by their side as they prepare to welcome the public through their doors – helping our cultural gems plan to reopen and thrive in better times to come. ”

The Mill Artistic Director Sally Hughes said: “Everyone at The Mill is delighted to receive this fantastic grant. The next few months will be tough to go with all Covid security measures and only 50% of the capacity allowed. . The government holiday program has helped us over the past year. Now this grant allows us to move forward, open May 17th and welcome our audience again with confidence. “

After a year of confinement, The Mill at Sonning will reopen its theater on May 17 with a busy season of comedy, magic, cabarets and plays.

It is also announcing today its full program of in-house theater productions for 2021/22.

The 2021/22 season kicks off with an 11-week broadcast of Alan Aykbourn’s classic comedy “Relatively Speaking” (May 18 – July 30). Directed by Robin Herford, a longtime partner of the playwright, it will be a revival of the production which was sold out in March 2020 when all theaters were closed by the Covid pandemic. “A delight in every way … This production is a top-notch concoction” London Living Large

“Two into One”, a comedy by Ray Cooney, directed by Ron Aldridge, will run from August 5 to October 9, 2021, with a cast including Mark Curry, Harry Gostelow, Lizzie Elvin, Felicity Duncan, Steven Pinder, Delme Thomas, Daisy Steere and Connor Hughes Ray Cooney has been the savior of The Mill, entertaining audiences every year since our opening in 1982 with his hilarious plays, but he also helped out financially when we got stranded last March. To say a big thank you, on Saturday September 11, the Mill auditorium will be named Ray with a gala performance of his “Two into One” to celebrate.

This year’s legendary Christmas musical from The Windmill will be a spectacular new production of Irving Berlin’s musical “Top Hat” (October 18, 2021 – January 10, 2022) based on the RKO film and directed by Jonathan O’Boyle ( ‘The Last Five Years’, ‘Aspects of Love’ at Southwark Playhouse, ‘Rain Man’, UK tour).

The modern supernatural thriller “The House on Cold Hill” written by Peter James, adapted for the stage by Shaun McKenna, directed by Keith Myers will run from February 3 to March 25, 2022.

This will be followed by the return of television and film legend Brian Blessed to direct Dorothy L. Sayers’ thriller “Busman’s Honeymoon” (April 28 – June 25, 2022), starring her greatest detective creation, Lord Peter. Wimsey, Upper Crust Detective. . Brian said: “Dorothy L Sayers is one of the greatest screenwriters of the golden age of British crime fiction. This is his masterpiece!

Other highlights of the reopening season are the ‘An Afternoon with Dame Judi Dench & Simon Williams’ fundraiser on Sunday July 25 and ‘Just Williams’, featuring Simon’s son Tam Willians & Finty Williams , Saturday June 26.

Dame Judi Dench loves The Mill and she wants to make sure he survives this difficult time. In ‘An Afternoon with Dame Judi Dench & Simon Williams’ she will talk about her life and work in front of a very select audience with Simon Williams her afternoon host. The chemistry between Dame Judi and Simon is electric, they are old friends, and their jokes can be wickedly funny.

The mill will reopen with a much reduced capacity of 70 diners and show guests due to social distancing, but the venue has found a neat way to hide empty seats that need to be left between reservations. “Our master carpenter has built small tables that will fit over the empty seats. These will be able to move according to the size of each group and will be dressed in small lights, so that the auditorium will look more like one. intimate cabaret space than a traditional theater, “said Sally.” Call it Las Vegas on the Thames !! “

Full details for the 20/21 season are available at

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