Folk tale inspires film

A NEW short film by Millstream Theatre, the Museum of East Dorset’s resident company of learning disabled actors, is based on a magical folk tale collected by traditional storyteller Duncan Williamson.

The Woodcutter and the Swan was originally a devised theatre piece. Due to Covid-19, Millstream Theatre, with co-directors, Tony Horitz and Tam Gilbert, have transformed the production into a screen adaptation.

The film combines drama, dance, poetry, animated drawing and original music, created and developed via ZOOM and mobile phones. The Woodcutter and the Swan reflects the isolation many have experienced this year, ending with a message of hope and friendship.

Several professional artists have supported Millstream in creating the film – including Devon-based freelance Gillian Taylor, who is editing the film (having given Millstream staff and members valuable training in working digitally), with production, set and costume design by Christchurch 3D artist, Heidi Steller. Sarah Archdeacon and Housni (DJ) Hassan, from London-based Corali Dance Company, have choreographed the movement sequences and Wimborne-based musician Pete Ferrett created original music for the production and arranged Millstream member Nina Smith’s poem, The Swan, as a song.

The Woodcutter and the Swan is funded with emergency funding from the National Lottery community and heritage funds, with support from Activate Performing Arts. Millstream Theatre is funded through ticket sales, grants and donations.

Ticket price includes access to a Q&A with the actors and creative team following the film, which will be streamed online – book at