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.

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.”