A major public appeal has been officially launched to help transform the Alnwick Playhouse.
As the building fell into increasing disrepair, a deal was struck with Northumberland County Council back in December.
The council agreed to spend £2.5million on its part of a reorganisation project, including repairing the building and replacing its internal electrical and heating systems.
For its part of the bargain, the Playhouse must raise £800,000 to finance a new food and drink area, new auditorium seating, a new get-in lift, studio adaptations and refurbishment throughout.
Now the theatre’s fund-raising appeal, called Show Your Support, is under way and we can reveal that it has already raised nearly £600,000.
Playhouse manager Jo Potts said: “We started work on fund-raising behind the scenes in autumn 2017.
“We’ve been delighted by the support that we’ve received so far from trusts and foundations, both local and national, from public funders such as Arts Council England, and by some very generous donations.
“From our initial target of £800,000, we have raised a fantastic £597,593, leaving £202,407 to reach our target.
“All contributions to our Show Your Support appeal will make a massive difference to reaching that total – enabling us to build a great arts centre that all of the community can use for many years to come.”
Last year, the council had agreed to buy the building and then grant a new 50-year lease to Alnwick District Playhouse Trust to enable it to continue to operate the theatre, studio, bar and an expanded café.
The council would use the remaining part of the ground floor to provide a library, tourist information and customer service facilities. As part of the deal, the other previous co-owner, the Northumberland Theatre Company, has now relocated to the Dovecote Centre in Amble.
The Gazette has agreed to be media partner for the appeal and we will keep you updated with the latest total raised and news of events to raise the cash. Send us your fund-raising stories by email at email@example.com.
THREE WAYS YOU CAN SHOW YOUR SUPPORT
1. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, PLEASE TAKE YOUR SEATS…
For the first time, the theatre is offering you the chance to name a Playhouse auditorium seat.
For a donation of £250, you can have a dedication written for you, your family, or perhaps in memory of someone special who loved going to the theatre in Alnwick.
If all 260 seats sell, the target of £65,000 will be reached.
Visit the Playhouse website at www.supportyourplayhouse.co.uk or call staff on 01665 510785 and tell them the message that you would like inscribed on the brass seat plaque which will be fitted to the back of the seat.
Your name will also feature on the Playhouse thank-you website page (if you wish).
Seat plaques will remain in place for a minimum of 10 years. Corporate dedications are also welcome.
2. TAKE A STEP UP FOR THE PLAYHOUSE
This is an unprecedented opportunity to support the Playhouse by adopting a step on the new-look spiral staircase.
Each adopted step will feature a plaque fixed to the riser with your name written onto it. With only 26 steps, this is a very limited chance for the venue’s greatest supporters to make their mark on this appeal. A donation of £1,000 will allow the Playhouse to really step up its fund-raising appeal and will be remembered by all visitors.
Due to the clean and elegant design of the staircase, these plaques can include your name, or family name only. Your name will also feature on a donor board in the Playhouse foyer.
3. MAKE A DONATION
Would you like to donate to the appeal without adopting a seat or a step?
The Playhouse would be very grateful for your support. You can give via www.supportyourplayhouse.co.uk or by calling 01665 510785.