The Amulet Theatre Shepton Mallet
Photo Credit: Jason Bryant - Photo to campaign against conversion of the theatre space into residential use
The Amulet was built in the early 1970s, opening in 1975. Originally known as The Centre it was re-named in the 1990s following discovery of a Roman amulet in excavations nearby. A philanthropic gift from the Showering family, local brewers famed for Babycham, the theatre was part of a major redevelopment of Shepton Mallet funded by the family and was intended to provide a cultural and creative legacy.
Architecturally it is Brutalist in style, flanked by a block of offices and retail units along Market Square that were part of the same development. The theatre is located at first-floor level and features a fly tower and large foyer. It was built with the best theatre technology of the time and designed to be flexible. Significantly, it includes what is believed to be the UK’s last remaining example of a motorised ceiling carrying seats, which descends to convert the flat floor of the theatre into a space with raked seating.
The Amulet hosted theatre, live music and film screenings and as the only theatre in the town and with limited provision in the wider area, it became an important venue in this part of Somerset.
The Amulet went into private ownership in 2006 and has remained closed as a theatre space since. Parts of the building have been brought back to life by The Movement Gym and Bar 501 next door to the site.
The Theatre's Trust have now added The Amulet to the national Theatres at Risk register as there are plans in place to re-develop the site into residential and retail use - you can read more about this here
The Theatre's Trust now seek to work with the owner and District Council to find a positive outcome for this building and to explore how some of its heritage and the original intention as a space could be retained. We are very pleased to hear that the owner has offered the Theatre's Trust a tour of the space.
The Amulet still has a theatre covenant attached to it - meaning legally the building is still designated as a theatre (the premise under which it was sold). There are currently planning applications in to Mendip District Council to change the use of the building to residential and retail use.
Like many other residents and local organisations, we absolutely want to see this building back in use and see the potential of The Amulet within Shepton's town centre.
We also believe that recent changes on the High Street through The Art Bank and the addition of so many new arts and cultural organisations and festivals demonstrates the real demand and potential for a larger community, arts and cultural venue within Shepton Mallet.
There are some positive conversations with local entrepreneurs looking to re-animate the space. We are keen to support local plans that ensure the building is publicly accessible and would love to support finding the very best outcome for Shepton.
We would love to hear from you if you have memories of The Amulet - email firstname.lastname@example.org