THE lights go up again at The Athenaeum Theatre in Warminster next weekend, after it has been dark for six months, the first time this has happened for 20 years.

On September 26 and 27, audiences will be back for a Save The Ath concert, featuring four young performers from the town who started their stage careers there.

Adela Forestier-Walker, who is one of the Ath trustees, explained: “The Ath (as it’s affectionately called) has unique financial status. It is run entirely by volunteers with no salaries to pay; however it needs its hirers and users to keep running, to stay safe and secure, and to cover its running costs.

“Its trustees felt it would be safe for a few months but now that places of entertainment can open, albeit with severe coronavirus restrictions based on health and safety guidance, a group of talented young people are performing this concert to recognise the joint anniversaries and to help turn the lights back on in our corner of theatreland.”

“As well as this being the 175th anniversary of our wonderful grade II listed building, it is also the 20th anniversary of the formation of the charitable trust that saved the building for the town. We were planning on a really glitzy celebration with a gala performance and a celebration dinner; sadly Covid-19 put paid to that for the time being.

“Several people have told us that they cannot attend for various reasons but are anxious to help.

“For anyone who is unable to come to the concert but wishes to donate to the Warminster Athenaeum Trust, please do so by making your donation to them via: CAF Bank, Sort code 40-52-40, A/c No 00007336. Anyone can make a BACS payment to us. If they put the word “donate” and their name as the payment reference, that would be really helpful.”

Chairman of Trustees Tony Nicklin added: “During the years you have supported this gem of a centre for the community. We are planning good things for 2021 and will notify you at a later date, but meanwhile we offer our first production since the lockdown started, which is a much needed fundraiser concert, performed by talented artists who started their careers at the Ath and who now wish to help get The Ath back on the road to recovery.We look forward to seeing you all once again, soon or at some point in the coming year.”

Andrew Frostick, the Athenaeum archivist, added: “Here we are celebrating our quietest year every, and yet also celebrating 170 years of our fine institution.

“The Athenaeum opened in January 1851. For the first six years literary events, concerts and readings were held in the Market Place, opposite the Town Hall. Where we are now was an old, empty inn waiting for redevelopment to the fine building we see today. In all those years since, through social changes, two World Wars, and insolvency the building has never truly fallen silent - until now..”

Tickets for the concert, at £15, are bookable online only at