Community groups stage a whole lot of help for Alnwick Playhouse

Alnwick Playhouse is getting ever closer to reaching its fund-raising target thanks in part to generous donations from local community organisations.

By Carrie Morrison
Friday, 22 February, 2019, 06:00
Playhouse technical manager Andy Hunt, left, and theatre manager Jo Potts, with Adam Lambert, centre, chairman of Alnwick Round Table handing over a cheque for £2,000. Picture by Andrew Mounsey.

The refurbishment will see the Playhouse gain substantial new space, allowing new artistic opportunities and hospitality facilities, as well as the overall building renovation.

The whole project is estimated to cost approximately £3.3 million. The majority will be funded by Northumberland County Council, with the Playhouse Trust needing to raise £800,000 for the renovation of key theatre areas.

Alnwick Playhouse manager Jo Potts. Picture by Jane Coltman

Since launching a public appeal last August, local community groups have lent their full support to the campaign, organising events and fund-raisers to help contribute.

From support from in-house groups, such as the Playhouse Community Choir and Concert Band, to external organisations, such as Alnwick Round Table, Northumberland Freemasons and long-standing Playhouse regulars Alnwick Theatre Club, Alnwick Stage Musical Society and Duchess’s Community High School, the support from the community has been overwhelming.

Local businesses have also stepped up to support the appeal, with a tremendous selection of prizes for the Christmas raffle, which raised £1,700.

Theatre manager Jo Potts said “It is heart-warming to know that the Playhouse is considered worthy of such sizeable community donations and we are extremely grateful. The Playhouse staff are not professional fund-raisers but we do belong to this community and we are doing our very best to get out there and ask everyone who has used and will use the Playhouse to show their support.

“By working closely with local groups we are learning a lot about grass-root level community support.

“Those who have already donated have given up their own free time and efforts for the Playhouse – it is a humbling experience for us, but just normal generosity and support for them.

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“I promise we will all share in the new and improved Playhouse as a community and all your efforts in helping us to reach our target will not be forgotten.”

The current total stands at more than £715,000, with more events to come, including a sold-out Murder Mystery Dinner at The White Swan hosted by Alnwick Theatre Club, a cabaret style musical evening from Alnwick Stage Musical Society, the Round Table Duck Race 2019 and a Spring Concert by the Playhouse Community Choir, with proceeds going to the Playhouse public appeal.

Adam Lambert, chairman of Alnwick Round Table which recently donated a cheque for £2,000 said: “Alnwick Round Table was very pleased to be able to support Alnwick Playhouse in its refurbishment this year.

“It has and always will be a fantastic hub for the community that, without essential work being done, would be a big miss to the centre of Alnwick.

“We’d also like to take this chance to thank everyone who supports the Alnwick Round Table events, without whom we would not be able to raise funds to donate to causes such as this one.

“Events such as The Alnwick Beer Festival and Alnwick Fireworks are key to our ability to help others in the area.

“We’d also like to thank Alnwick Playhouse for supporting the Round Table Duck Race 2019 which will be at The Alnwick Garden; if you’d like to come and see them (or us!), pop down to The Alnwick Garden on April 20 for a ‘quacking’ event!”.

For more details on the duck race or any of their other events visit the Alnwick Round Table Facebook page.