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Weekly backs drive to secure theatre’s future

A weekly newspaper has lent its backing to a major fundraising appeal to help secure the future of a theatre.

The Darlington and Stockton Times is supporting the Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond, which is believed to be the oldest working theatre in the UK, in its bid to raise £122,500 from donations.

The theatre is seeking the funding to help maintain it as a perfomance venue and aims to raise the money through a target of 10 donations of £10,000, 50 donations of £225 and 225 donations of £50.

It was built 225-years-ago and was reopened as a theatre 50-years-ago after being used as a wine store and auction house, while it is 10 years since the venue was fully restored with a Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

In a story about the appeal, editor Malcolm Warne said: “The D&S has been a long-standing supporter of the Georgian. We have backed previous appeals. We believe it is a special place and deserves special treatment.

“It is tremendous cultural asset for Richmond and North Yorkshire and we need to make sure it continues to thrive.”

Theatre chief executive Warnock Kerr said the theatre, which seats around 200 people, does not generate enough income from ticket and bar sales to cover all the overheads as well as performance costs.

He said: “We used to get a lot of money from the Arts Council and the county and district councils but they do not have the budgets they once did for grants, and at the same time people who come to the theatre cannot afford to come as often as they once did.

“We do have application for grants in at the moment but we do not have assurances of them yet – what we need now is donations which will all go into the running of the theatre and keeping it alive.”