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About Us

Our purpose is to create great shows that audiences love. From our home in a converted Watermill in rural West Berkshire, which seats just 220 people, we have produced award-winning work that has been recognised throughout the UK and abroad. The very best artists and creative teams, both established and at early stages of their careers, are our lifeblood, earning The Watermill a reputation as one of the very best producing theatres in the country.

Our artistic ambition is shown in our choice of work, from Shakespeare and classic plays to new writing. Our bold approach has led to the reimagining of large-scale musicals using actor-musicians, which has been widely viewed as breathing fresh life into familiar shows.

Alongside West End transfers and national and international tours of our work, we create productions for small-scale touring, ensuring that those living in rural isolation are able to enjoy high quality theatre on their doorstep. We also tour to schools taking scaled-down, vibrant productions of classic texts in to the classroom to support students’ learning.

Our belief that everyone deserves a chance has led to a thriving education and participation programme, which works with around 13,000 people every year at The Watermill and in the wider community.

It costs in the region of £3m to produce our plays, run the theatre and our education and participation programme. As a registered charity, we work hard to generate approximately 81% of our income ourselves derived from theatre activities, box office and restaurant income and fundraising initiatives. We also receive core funding from Arts Council England and West Berkshire Council.

In addition, a recent study conducted by Reading University concluded that we contribute over £2.5m to the community of West Berkshire each year. With ongoing investment, support and financial donations from our audience members - which is crucial to the future of the theatre - we will continue to play an important artistic and financial role in our community.

Our mission statement

The Watermill’s purpose is to create great shows that audiences love

  • Our unique setting, with actors and creative teams living and working onsite, is key to what we are.
  • We will continue to be a leading force in developing the theatre-makers of tomorrow, both in the wider profession and our local community.
  • We will ensure that every visit to The Watermill enhances its special place in people’s hearts.

“The Watermill in Newbury: high-class, inventive productions and great care of its audiences, all adding up to wonderful shared experiences.”  Audience member

“The Watermill Theatre has become nationally known in the last decade, thanks to an impressive collection of awards, West End transfers, and in-house productions that have gone on to tour the country. But alongside the shows that have made the headlines, the theatre has also continued to provide a full programme of work that reflects its longstanding commitment to the local community and to outreach work.” The Guardian

“What a location! Forget the glitz of the West End: try walking up a country lane, past waddling ducks, to this lovely little theatre in a converted mill.”  The Mail on Sunday