The Cygnet Theatre’s creative team have joined us to talk about their theatre’s history in Exeter’s theatrical landscape.
Rosalind Williams, is the Principal of Cygnet. After graduating at Exeter University in English & Latin and teacher training in Nottingham, Ros joined the staff at QE in Crediton as a teacher of Classical Studies and Latin. Upon hearing that Cygnet existed she was able to pursue a youthful ambition to become an actor and trained at Cygnet. Subsequently she got involved in fund-raising and some teaching – in addition to taking various acting roles. She has also followed a T’ai Chi training, teaching at St David’s Community Centre for several years before returning more fully to Cygnet. Singing and Music have also been a strong thread and she directed the church Choir at Bow for many years. Her role is partly pastoral, teaching, administrative, publicity and coping with the general running of the place- which can involve tidying the garden and the odd bit of cleaning! She also takes acting roles when the opportunity arises. She also wrote Gerald – about the Royal Albert Museum’s famed giraffe – which was performed on Radio Devon.
Alistair Ganley is the Artistic Director of Cygnet Theatre. After graduation with an English Degree from Nottingham University, where he had discovered a love of directing, with already many shows to his credit Alistair joined Cygnet to train as an actor/director. Upon graduation he stayed to continue teaching and directing, becoming first Associate Director with Cygnet’s founder Monica Shallis and is now sole Artistic Director. Alistair is also a trained Dramatherapist. In addition to his work at Cygnet Alistair has directed for Mollusc Theatre Company, Whirlwind Theatre for Children, Lyme Youth Theatre & at The Theatre Royal Plymouth. Alistair is also a Board Member of Interwoven Productions CIC for whom he has directed several open-air walking performances in various parts of Exeter. As part of Cygnet’s programme Alistair has directed two community plays based on historical material, Trinity told the story of the Cygnet building – (Formerly Trinity Church Hall ) and Fire at the Clarence involved 40 community actors and ran for 10 full houses on the anniversary of the devastating fire. He also leads community acting workshops and teaches Drama at The Maynard and lives with his family in Exeter.