Joseph Rowntree Theatre sets £10,000 target for #SaveOurTheatres crowdfunding

Red alert: The Joseph Rowntree Theatre on the night of #LightItInRed, highlighting the plight of theatres, forced to shut down in March under Covid-19 restrictions

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.

“Lucky 13” picked for second round of Yorkshire’s Got Talent for JoRo’s roof appeal

Sam Rippon: One of the “lucky 13” to make it through to the next round of the Yorkshire’s Got Talent virtual contest

THE Yorkshire’s Got Talent virtual contest, in York, enters its second phase with 13 contestants still standing.

The online competition was launched last month to provide funds for the Joseph Rowntree Theatre’s £90,000 Raise The Roof appeal.

From dozens of entries, the ten acts that collected the most votes proceeded straight through to the next round. The following day, three more acts were “saved”, as each of the three judges picked a wildcard entry.

Hannah Wakelam: Organiser of Yorkshire Got’s Talent

Entries closed at midnight last Saturday, whereupon organiser Hannah Wakelam, 19,  announced the results live on Facebook on Sunday evening. The ten acts going through, in no particular order, are Sam Rippon; Richard Bayton; Flo Taylor; Jess Baxter; Harvey Stevens; Florence Poskitt & Adam Sowter, Nancy Mae and Ayda Mooney; Daisy Winbolt -Robertson; Roxy Hurst and Evan Watkinson.

Taking the total to 13, lucky for them, were the wildcards chosen by judges Nathan Lodge, Amelia Urukalo and Wicked star Laura Pick. Nathan saved Ed Atkin, Amelia rescued Abbi Watkinson and Laura’s pick was Jordan Wright.

Graham Mitchell, the Jo Ro’s events and fundraising director, says: “We’ve entered a really exciting part of the contest as each week from now on the finalists will have to fight to keep their places.

Wright choice: Laura Pick picked Jordan Wright as her wildcard choice

“Whereas when the acts first entered, it was up to them what they submitted, from now on we’ll be giving them a theme to work with.  The first theme is Disney, so we’re looking forward to seeing what our performers choose to come up with.”

The latest round will close on August 19, when it will be up to the judges to decide who progresses.

Dan Shrimpton, the JoRo charity’s chair of trustees, says: “We recognise many of the acts as they’ve already performed on our stage.  What makes this competition exciting to us as a hub for community theatre across the whole of the Yorkshire region is that we’ve seen interest from farther afield than York city centre and also from a wide range of different types of acts.”

The logo for Yorkshire’s Got Talent

The talent contest is the latest in a series of fundraising events for the Haxby Road theatre, in the wake of an online fitness video, a small yard sale, the ongoing sale of Barbara Boyce-designed face masks and the Up On The Roof virtual video, filmed at the beginning of lockdown.

To launch the Raise The Roof campaign, the JoRo has set up a Just Giving page, encouraging donations of “even just the amount of a takeaway coffee” at justgiving.com/campaign/Raise-the-Roof.

Yorkshire’s Got Talent contest video entry deadline extended by a week for Joseph Rowntree Theatre roof appeal fundraiser

“We don’t want anyone to miss out on the chance of becoming a finalist in Yorkshire’s Got Talent,” says organiser Hannah Wakelam

THE deadline for performers to upload video entries for the Joseph Rowntree Theatre’s online contest, Yorkshire’s Got Talent, is being extended by a week.

Organiser Hannah Wakelam and the judges, Wicked star Laura Pick, cruise-ship vocal captain Nathan Lodge and vocal coach Amelia Urukalo, have set a new cut-off point of midnight on August 8.

Hannah has set up the virtual competition as a fundraiser for the JoRo’s £90,000 Raise The Roof appeal.

“We still have lots of entries coming in, as word of the contest reaches further afield,” says the 19-year-old York performer. “We don’t want anyone to miss out on the chance of becoming a finalist in Yorkshire’s Got Talent, and so the judges and I are extending the entry deadline to next weekend.

“All types of performers are encouraged to enter and to show off what they can do, whether it’s singing, dancing, playing a musical instrument, performing a circus act, the list is endless.”

The cost of entry is a minimum donation of £5 to the Raise the Roof appeal for the Art Deco building, in Haxby Road, and no age restrictions apply.

To comply with lockdown rules, entrants are asked to submit a short video of themselves performing their acts. The contest winner will receive £100.

Full rules and details of how to enter can be found at:

Facebook:  facebook.com/groups/687590815139642/about

Instagram: instagram.com/yorkshiresgottalent/

Graham Mitchell, the JoRo’s events and fundraising director, says: “There’s a real buzz around this contest now. Having a West End star [Laura Pick] among our judging panel has certainly got people talking and we are seeing a rush of last-minute entries.  By extending the deadline, we’ll be able to accommodate more acts at the same time as raising more money for our fundraising appeal.”

The online contest is the latest in a string of fundraisers for the Rowntree Theatre’s  roof appeal, following on from a virtual video, a Zoom fitness class and the ongoing sale of jazzy face masks made by theatre volunteer Barbara Boyce.

To launch the Raise the Roof campaign, the JoRo has set up a Just Giving page and is encouraging donations of “even just the amount of a takeaway coffee” at  justgiving.com/campaign/Raise-the-Roof.

Who wants carrots? Barbara rises to mask task to aid Rowntree Theatre’s roof appeal

Joseph Rowntree Theatre volunteering director Barbara Boyce models one of her face masks in aid of the Raise The Roof appeal

SALES of jazzy face masks designed by volunteering director Barbara Boyce have raised more than £850 for the Joseph Rowntree Theatre roof appeal in York.

Early on in lockdown, before the wearing of masks or facial coverings became commonplace or, in some places, mandatory, Barbara began making and selling fabric face masks for the Raise The Roof appeal. 

Board trustee Barbara bought and donated all the fabric and elastic for the masks,  joining the JoRo’s Just Giving campaign with her fundraiser over the past two months.

“I am making these fun face masks to brighten up those occasions when people need to wear them. They come in a huge variety of high-quality fabrics featuring animals, florals and quirky prints,” she says.

Leaves or carrots? Two of the masks available from Barbara Boyce to boost the Joseph Rowntree Theatre appeal for roof repairs

Now that mask-wearing is to become compulsory in shops, with effect from July 24, Barbara anticipates continued – and hopefully increased – demand for the snazzy masks and in turn a further boost for the £90,000 appeal.

Barbara is asking for a minimum donation of £8 for each mask and buyers can contact her to choose a design and size via justgiving.com/fundraising/barbara-boyce1, with her masks available in adult and child sizes.

“All our usual income has dried up as no-one is able to hire the theatre at the moment,” she says.  “We still need to pay our bills and get the roof repaired.

“So far I’ve made over 100 masks and as long as people keep buying, I’ll keep sewing.”

Yorkshire’s Got Talent finale could take place on Rowntree Theatre stage if….

The Joseph Rowntree Theatre building, bathed in “emergency red” when taking part in the #LightItInRed campaign for urgent support for the theatre industry on Monday night

PLANS are afoot for the climax of the Yorkshire’s Got Talent contest to be held at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, rather than online.

The Haxby Road theatre has announced it will “hand over the stage to the contest once it is able to re-open and  many performers who will have taken part “virtually” can take centre stage in front of a live audience”.

No date has been set for such a finale, against the background of no easing of the Government’s lockdown strictures on theatres, all having been cast into darkness since mid-March.

Yorkshire’s Got Talent is being run by York teenager Hannah Wakelam, a regular musical theatre performer at the JoRo, in aid of the Art Deco building’s £90,000 Raise the Roof appeal for roof repairs.

Hannah, 19, has signed up three VIP guests to judge the event: Wicked star Laura Pick, from Wakefield, West End regular and cruise ship vocal captain Nathan Lodge, from York, and Ripon vocal coach Amelia Urukalo.

Yorkshire’s Got Talent judge Laura Pick in her West End role as Elphaba in Wicked

Entries are open from now until August 1 for a contest with a £100 prize. “All types of performers are encouraged to enter and to show off what they can do,” says Hannah.

“Whether it’s singing, dancing, playing a musical instrument, performing a circus act, the list is endless.”

The cost of entries is a minimum donation of £5 to the Raise the Roof appeal and no age restrictions apply. “Because of lockdown rules, entrants will be asked to submit a short video of themselves performing their acts,” says Hannah. “The winner will receive £100 and their online performances will be seen right across the Yorkshire area.”

Hannah is hoping that, schedules permitting, the three VIP judges, will be able to attend the climax to her county-wide contest at the JoRo.  

Laura Pick was playing Elphaba in Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre in the West End until the Covid-19 lockdown. Nathan Lodge, no stranger to the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, has many West End credits, complemented by his career as a vocal captain on cruise ships. Vocal coach Amelia Urukal has experience aplenty in judging talent competitions and runs the Upstage Academy performing arts studio in Ripon.

Yorkshire’s Got Talent contest organiser Hannah Wakelam

Determined to help the JoRo, Hannah says: “It’s because of my experience on stage at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre that I’m following my dream to be a professional performer. 

“I honestly wouldn’t be where I am now without this community venue and all it does for young talent.  This contest is just my way of saying ‘thank you’ and I’d love other young performers to learn about the opportunities they can find here.”

Hannah is running a raffle alongside the talent contest and is urging businesses or individuals to consider donating prizes.  “All donors will be credited in our publicity,” she says. “The theatre has kicked off the appeal for donations by offering theatre tokens and a framed print of the Art Deco building by artist Elliot Harrison.”

To launch the Raise The Roof campaign, the JoRo has set up a Just Giving page and is encouraging people to “donate even just the amount of a takeaway coffee”.  To do so, go to justgiving.com/campaign/Raise-the-Roof.

Full rules and details of how to enter Yorkshire’s Got Talent can be found here:

Facebook: facebook.com/groups/687590815139642/about

Instagram: instagram.com/yorkshiresgottalent/.

Would you want to be judged by the evil eye of Wicked’s Elphaba? Here’s your chance in the Yorkshire’s Got Talent contest

Yorkshire’s Got Talent judging panellist Laura Pick in her West End role as Elphaba in Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, London. Who will Laura pick to win with her fellow judges?

YORK teenage musical theatre performer Hannah Wakelam is launching the Yorkshire’s Got Talent Virtual Contest to boost the Joseph Rowntree Theatre’s Raise The Roof campaign, with Wicked’s Elphaba among the judges.

Hannah, 19, who has appeared many times on the JoRo stage, has signed up three VIP guests to judge the event: Wicked star Laura Pick, West End regular and cruise ship vocal captain Nathan Lodge and Ripon vocal coach Amelia Urukalo.

Entries are open from now until August 1 for a contest with a £100 prize. “All types of performers are encouraged to enter and to show off what they can do,” says Hannah. “Whether it’s singing, dancing, playing a musical instrument, performing a circus act, the list is endless.”

The cost of entries is a minimum donation of £5 to the Raise The Roof appeal and no age restrictions apply. “Because of lockdown rules, entrants will be asked to submit a short video of themselves performing their acts,” says Hannah. “The winner will receive £100 and their online performances will be seen right across the Yorkshire area.”

Hannah Wakelam: Yorkshire’s Got Talent Virtual Contest organiser and Raise The Roof fundraiser

The Haxby Road theatre needs to find £90,000 to go towards roof repairs to the Art Deco building to ensure the JoRo will be around for future generations of Yorkshire performers.

Graham Mitchell, the theatre’s events and fundraising director, says: “Hannah got in touch with us the very day that our appeal was launched and offered to do a fundraiser within the overall campaign. 

“Already we’ve had lots of people express an interest in the contest and now that the judges have been announced, we expect levels of interest to take off.”

Heading up the panel is Laura Pick, from Wakefield, who was flying high as Elphaba in Wicked in the West End until the Covid-19 lockdown stopped her Defying Gravity.

Yorkshire’s Got Talent judge Amelia Urukalo

Fellow judge Nathan Lodge, originally from York and no stranger to the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, has many West End credits, complemented by his career as a vocal captain on cruise ships. 

The third judge, vocal coach Amelia Urukalo, has experience aplenty in judging talent competitions and runs the Upstage Academy performing arts studio in Ripon.

The Yorkshire area is teeming with performing talent, not least on the Rowntree Theatre stage: a training ground and launchpad for many professional acting careers, such as Harry Potter and Broadchurch actor David Bradley, Emmerdale and Casualty actor Ian Kelsey and West End musical theatre performer Scott Garnham.

Nathan says: “I really believe that the industry is full of exceptionally talented people who started out in Yorkshire and I can’t wait to see what the future of talent from home looks like.”

“I can’t wait to see what the future of talent from home looks like,” says Yorkshire’s Got Talent judge Nathan Lodge, who took his early theatrical steps at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre

The JoRo launched its Raise The Roof campaign last month by creating an online music video, put together “virtually” during lockdown. Last Saturday morning, an online fitness class raised almost £300 for the campaign.

The total stands at £2,673, more than half of the £5,000 target for this early stage of the overall £90,000 appeal. Almost 100 people have donated so far, testament to the campaign gathering momentum.

Dan Shrimpton, chair of trustees of the Joseph Rowntree Theatre charity, says: “We launched the campaign with several of our own team performing a music video, then we held an online fitness class hosted by Hannah King, which lots of our supporters took part in.

“Yorkshire’s Got Talent is the third event in a chain of many fundraisers that we already have in the pipeline. We know this competition will be hugely popular as it’s open to everyone in the Yorkshire region, whether they’ve performed at our venue or not.  It’s simply a celebration of local talent, all the while supporting a great community cause.”

The auditorium at the Art Deco-designed Joseph Rowntree Theatre, in Haxby Road, York

To launch the Raise The Roof campaign, the JoRo has set up a Just Giving page and is encouraging people to “donate even just the amount of a takeaway coffee”.  To do so, go to justgiving.com/campaign/Raise-the-Roof.

Full rules and details of how to enter Yorkshire’s Got Talent can be found here: Facebook: facebook.com/groups/687590815139642/about; Instagram: instagram.com/yorkshiresgottalent/.

The judges will select a final ten from the entries and the contest will progress from there through a process of elimination until the winner is declared.