Army of readers back Playhouse

Alnwick Playhouse theatre manager Jo Potts, Gazette reporter Ben O'Connell and author Judith O'Reilly.
Alnwick Playhouse theatre manager Jo Potts, Gazette reporter Ben O'Connell and author Judith O'Reilly.

GETTING youngsters involved in the arts will be the focus of the next Jam Jar Army appeal, as we reveal the Alnwick Playhouse as the chosen charity.

Hundreds of readers voted in the Gazette’s poll to decide the next beneficiary of the £10,000 target and the Playhouse’s plans to invest in its Youth Theatre struck a chord in north Northumberland.

Alnwick Playhouse Youth Theatre involves around 135 children, aged seven to 15, from all over the region, who participate every Sunday.

But there are fears over whether the group’s current model of producing six large-scale musicals a year is sustainable.

The Playhouse’s victory also comes as the arts centre enters the last three months of its Art Council England grant.

Last year, it was announced that funding would be completely cut from April 2012 despite increases of 270 per cent for The Maltings in Berwick and 174 per cent for Queen’s Hall, Hexham.

Alnwick Playhouse manager Jo Potts said she was ‘absolutely delighted’ to win the vote.

“I tell potential funders and investors on a daily basis that the Alnwick Playhouse is at the heart of this community but it is difficult to prove or quantify that statement.

“However, by winning the Jam Jar Army vote above such strong and worthy organisations, this community has sent the clearest possible message to potential funding partners that the Playhouse is truly valued by the community it serves and that the community cares passionately for the next generation who deserve to benefit from a diverse programme of artistic opportunities.

“Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to vote, it does mean the world to all of us here at the Playhouse and it has strengthened my resolve and my determination to place young people at the very core of our programme and activities.”

l More on the Youth Theatre in next week’s Gazette