Joseph Rowntree Theatre boosted by two grants to ensure Covid-safe reopening

Joseph Rowntree Theatre: Awarded grants from Heworth ward committee of City of York Council and the Theatre Trust

THE Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, has received two grants to help to ensure it will meet Coronavirus recommendations and be Covid-secure with Good To Go status on reopening, whenever that may be.

The Heworth ward committee of City of York Council has donated £4,940; the Theatres Trust, £3,000.

As the JoRo theatre, in Haxby Road, started to make plans to reopen and reorganise the auditorium seating, the social distancing of patrons was of paramount importance.

The Heworth ward grant has facilitated the purchase of 260 Covid-19 distancing chair wraps to block off unavailable seats, ensuring that household bubbles will be kept a safe distance apart from each other. 

The wraps will allow for complete flexibility of seating layouts from one performance to the next as they can be repositioned easily.

Dan Shrimpton, chair of the JoRo’s board of trustees, says: “We understand the caution of some people about returning to live-entertainment venues.

The new Covid-19 distancing chair wraps at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre

“These covers will mean our audience will be able to access their bubble area quickly and safely without coming into close contact with others. We’d like to say a very big thank-you to the ward committee from all of us at the theatre.”

The Theatre Trust grant will go towards reopening costs, helping to fund the acquisition of equipment such as sanitiser stations, signage and screens for backstage, to enable the JoRo’s safe return.

Fundraising and events director Graham Mitchell says: “We need to make sure that our venue is abiding by all of the current recommendations for theatres.

“The costs associated with reopening are significant and, of course, we haven’t had any income for many months. We are very grateful to the Theatres Trust for their continued support.”

Only last month, the JoRo announced it had exceeded its fundraising target of £10,000 in a national campaign being run by the Theatres Trust to support theatres nationwide.

This money will be used to fund day-to-day running costs, instead of using up cash savings earmarked previously for essential repair work.

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