THE Joseph Rowntree Theatre, in York, is joining the national #SaveOurTheatres crowdfunding campaign with a fundraising target of £10,000.
The Haxby Road community theatre is one of the first to sign up for the national scheme launched by the Theatres Trust to support theatres throughout the country.
The scheme is backed by high- profile names such as actor Jude Law, who is a Theatres Trust ambassador. “Coronavirus has simply devastated our theatre sector,” he says. “Communities across the UK are in real danger of losing their theatres forever and we risk losing a precious part of our culture and heritage.
“Theatres are a vital community hub that bring joy to millions of people each year and we must try to save these theatres for generations to come.”
The JoRo prides itself on being “a strong community hub, a venue run for the community, by the community”. Although unable to play host to live shows since March, trustees and volunteers have been working hard behind the scenes on fundraising, for the £90,000 Raise The Roof appeal, and events planning.
However, the ongoing closure has necessitated spending savings to keep the theatre going, when these monies originally were earmarked to carry out essential repairs.
Dan Shrimpton, chair of the board of trustees, says: “We are in a stronger position than many theatres. However, our income has been affected significantly by the Covid-19 crisis and we are having to divert funds intended for essential repairs to cover the lost income.
“The crowdfunder campaign is to help support the theatre’s finances until it can reopen fully.”
The crowdfunding page is live at https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/josephrowntreetheatre, where various levels of donation are outlined with specified rewards at each level, ranging from a certificate of thanks to a champagne afternoon tea. Tote bags, theatre teddy bears and seat sponsorship are on offer too.
“The comments by supporters already on the page show the high level of esteem in which the community gem is held,” says Dan.