Charity so close to £225,000 bid to save the arts in Winchester

THE Survival Fundraising Appeal of Play to the Crowd – the arts and education charity which runs Theatre Royal Winchester, Hat Fair and Playmakers – has reached more than £180,000.

The charity needs to raise a total of £225,000 by the end of September in order to survive beyond the Covid crisis.

Play to the Crowd can boast 300 plus free performances enjoyed by over 90,000 people at last year’s Hat Fair. More than 75,000 people have enjoyed comedy, theatre, dance, music, opera and pantomime at Theatre Royal Winchester in 2019/20. More than 10,000 local school children have enjoyed creative workshops, educational theatre visits or careers support and 2,500 plus community performers, emerging and established artists had access to its unique theatre space and skilled mentoring.

Plus Play to the Crowd added more than £1 million to the local visitor economy.

Chief executive Deryck Newland said: “We’ve been overwhelmed with our community’s generosity and messages of support so far. The small team currently working, together with our Board of Trustees, are working flat out to secure the last £45,000 – we are edging that little bit closer to our target each day.

“We know it’s tough out there but if you are able to make a donation – whatever the size – we will be extremely grateful.

“We are absolutely determined to survive this. Live performance and creative participation are absolutely vital to so many people’s well-being and positive mental health and beyond this crisis as a society we will need these activities more than ever.”

Donations to Play to the Crowd’s Survival Appeal can be made at crowdfunder.co.uk/playtothecrowd, via cheque (made payable to Play to the Crowd) or by calling 01962 840 440.

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