Tucked away down a country lane just a few miles outside Whithorn lies Scotland's smallest theatre with a capacity audience of just 50.

Housed in a former Dumfries and Galloway cow byre, actors can literally reach out and connect with their intimate audiences just a few feet from the stage.

However, while some arts venues are desperate for a way to be able to put on a show, The Swallow Theatre realises that given its unique size it makes it impossible to consider opening while coronavirus restrictions are in place. They have set a realistic date of trying to open for the Spring.

However, that hasn't stopped them looking to the future and opening the doors of the country's smallest theatre once again.

Since opening in the mid 1990s, hundreds of professional and amateur performers have entertained thousands of local people and visitors. In recent years the theatre has seen increased visitor numbers and has expanded the range and number of events it presents. However, since March, along with other entertainment venues throughout the country, the theatre has been closed due to the ongoing pandemic crisis. And with no revenue coming in from ticket sales and donations, the theatre has had to look at alternative ways of raising funds for essential work.

Read more: Kiltwalk cash takes The Herald’s campaign halfway to £50k target

A spokesman for The Swallow Theatre said: "One of the projects planned for this year was a fundraising campaign to replace the agricultural type theatre roof which has been exposed to the fiercest of winds, rains and summer heat and is now showing its age, with increasing damage and wear and tear, and needs to be replaced.

"The theatre is independently owned and operated and receives no regular funding or external financial support. It relies entirely on audience ticket sales, donations and sponsorship. We have tried to keep ticket prices as affordable as possible for the widest group of people, and therefore have no reserves to fund this major work. During the Covid-19 pandemic, like all similar venues, the theatre has not been allowed to open and had to cancel all performances for the immediate future, including planned roof appeal fundraising events."

HeraldScotland: The Swallow Theatre has launched a £20,000 CrowdfunderThe Swallow Theatre has launched a £20,000 Crowdfunder

The theatre is currently participating in the national #SaveOurTheatres Crowdfunder campaign organised by Theatres Trust which aims to help theatres raise much needed funds to help them through this crisis and to look forward to the future when they are allowed to reopen.

"It’s a really difficult time for many individuals and businesses and The Swallow Theatre appeal for help has had a great response so far," the spokesman added. “We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who has donated or pledged for one of the offered rewards, or who have sent us messages of support which are a real morale boost. So far, including donations received prior to the current campaign, we have already raised nearly £10,000 of the £20,000 needed to undertake the roof replacement."

Read more: Donald Trump would be impossible to play, says Succession actor Brian Cox

The theatre took its name from the birds who originally roosted in the theatre and who still return and nest in the various buildings around the site. Since opening its door the theatre has become a valued part of the community.

"We present a curated programme of activities including professional touring theatre productions, world class music, workshops, family activities, play readings and other events," a spokesman added. "The programme often includes adaptations of literary classics and modern novels, entertaining and thought-provoking feel-good shows and new works and writing."

HeraldScotland: The Swallow Theatre is a hidden arts gemThe Swallow Theatre is a hidden arts gem

Comedy actor Dominic Goodwin has been treading the boards at the theatre for the past 12 years and is fully behind the campaign.

Mr Goodwin said: "I walk out on the stage and all you see are rows of very happy smiling, beaming faces. It is such a joy to be in The Swallow Theatre .We are going to try and raise as much money to keep this venue entertaining the people of Galloway with the help of a new roof."

The Swallow Theatre Roof Appeal campaign runs until November 3. For pledges and donations of £25 or more the theatre is offering the opportunity to have a personal name, business name, quote or inspirational words of choice on a tile that will be added to a commemorative roof appeal mural which will be displayed at the rear of the auditorium once the work has been completed.

To make a donation go to www.swallowtheatre.co.uk.