ILMINSTER Entertainments Society (IES) is literally building for the future.

Formed in 1947, the IES began their stage career with an inaugural production called ‘The Farmer’s Wife’.

This year, 2017, the group celebrated its 70th birthday and during the year announced plans of how it was aiming to build for the future and keep itself at the heart of the community.

The IES moved into its ‘new home’, the Warehouse Theatre in Brewery Lane in Ilminster 30 years ago but they have out grown it but are not planning to move.

What they have decided to do is to move next door, in the sense they want to buy the old bakery which is next to the theatre and add this on to the building.

By buying this building it would allow them to move the wardrobe department from upstairs in the theatre and allow it to be transformed into a work space and dressing rooms.

They will need to employ an architect to draw up plans for the new rehearsal room which will have partitions in it so they can be converted into dressing rooms.

But to achieve this dream the IES has to raise £125,000 by March 31, 2018.

This gives them five and a half months to reach their target.

So far they have raised £91,000 in four and a half months and Theatre trustee, Malcolm Young was confident the IES would hit its target and see its dream of expansion come true.

They have raised £91,000 by people endowing seats, buying bricks, and making donations which have all added up to this impressive total.

The IES has also been helped with grants from The Boots Trust Foundation in Ilminster for £20,000; the Fairfield Trust £15,000 and a personal donation from British theatrical producer, Cameron Mackintosh of £2,500.

The main reason for the need to expand is down to the success of the IES who have seen 1,600 people perform in the plays they have put on and over 700 youngsters have gone through the Youth Theatre.

Malcolm said: “Our volunteers are essential to us.

This is The West Country:

“They help us put on a show whether they are working in the coffee bar, selling programmes, working backstage or acting on stage.

“The ethos of the IES has not changed since it began and that is to be a very sociable organisation.

“One thing which has changed is we are a small group but we get a lot of people who want to come here to act from Yeovil, Taunton and Chard and just from Ilminster.”

As it states on the group’s website about volunteers: “We are always happy to welcome new members whether they want to act, work backstage or front of house or just wish to show their support for our lovely theatre.

“If you do join us the list of jobs available to you is varied to say the least, and every show that graces our stage needs to have all of them filled by willing volunteers.

“You can choose from the following: Acting Directing Production Assistant Stage Management Set Design Set Construction Lighting and Sound Backstage Props Costumes Marketing & publicity Bar Front of House.

The IES maybe small but they are always thinking ahead.

As it states on its website in its ‘about us’ section: “The Warehouse Theatre is owned and run by Ilminster Entertainments Society, a registered charity (no.291977) formed in 1947 with our inaugural production being ‘The Farmer’s Wife’. The society presents five productions in the theatre every year including its very popular Christmas show.

“Some years ago we were lucky enough to obtain premises at the former fruit and vegetable warehouse on Brewery Lane.

This is The West Country:

“Through much hard work, grants and donations a theatre was formed which now seats 150 people and represents one of the most well equipped, professional standard amateur theatres in the county.

“The theatre now stages IES productions as well as outside theatre and musical companies and also plays host to Ilminster Cinema Club, Ile Valley Flower Club and many other social clubs. The Theatre is also available for private hire for parties and corporate events.

“The group has already booked all the dates and shows for 2018 and has sorted out the dates of its productions in 2019.

“‘Social Nights’ are held in the theatre on the third Thursday of every month when anyone is welcome to come along for a drink and a chat.”

Malcolm said: “It does amaze me the amount of work which is involved but we have an amazing group of people.

“We have different committees which look after different aspects such as fundraising or the youth theatre.

“I hope what we are doing is helping the future of the theatre for the next generation to come.

This is The West Country:

“And I have no doubt in 70 years the IES will still be going strong.”

The latest IES production takes to the stage from December 6-December 9.

This is their production of Goodnight Mr Tom.

It is on 6.45pm each evening except Saturday when there are two shows, one at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.

Tickets cost £10 or £5 for students.

These can be bought online at thewarehousetheatre.org.uk, in person at the theatre before each performance or from Harrimans Menswear, Silver Street in Ilminster.

The next date for the diary for buddinga ctors is Janaury 24, 2018 at 7.30pm when there will be a read through for Humble Boy.

And on January 30, 2018, at 7.30pm this is when auditions will be held for Humble Boy.

You can learn more about the IES and how to get involved with it by going online to thewarehousetheatre.org.uk