Friends launch £50k fundraising efforts for Weston theatre

PUBLISHED: 08:00 20 July 2019

The Aladdin cast and Friends Of The Playhouse group. Picture: Neil Gibson

The Aladdin cast and Friends Of The Playhouse group. Picture: Neil Gibson

Neil Gibson

A group of volunteers has successfully raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to support Weston's largest theatre.

Friends of the Playhouse members with the lighting board. Neil GibsonFriends of the Playhouse members with the lighting board. Neil Gibson

The Friends Of The Playhouse has surpassed its target to raise £250,000 for The Playhouse Theatre in High Street.

The landmark total is even sweeter for the Friends as it has raised £20,000 more than the original cost to rebuild the theatre which reopened in July 1969 following a devastating fire which gutted the original 500-seat venue.

The money has contributed to providing a lighting desk, a CCTV system, a new lift, signs, hearing aids, a piano, stage curtains and a new announcement system.

The Friends has launched a fundraising campaign to replace the decades-old prompt desk.

The Aladdin cast and Friends Of The Playhouse group. Picture: Neil GibsonThe Aladdin cast and Friends Of The Playhouse group. Picture: Neil Gibson

The project is set to be the group's largest to date, with the group needing to raise £50,000 for the desk.

MORE: The Playhouse turned 50 years old last week.

Chairman Barbara Mewse said: "This next project will be the largest we have raised money for I think.

"The prompt desk will be an all singing, all dancing piece of equipment enabling the stage manager to be in touch with all sections of the theatre.

"At present radios are used and they are not very successful, they tend to break down at strategic times.

"This equipment, when installed, will be of great value to the theatre."

The current prompt desk has been in place since the theatre reopened 50 years ago and is no longer compatible with many touring production teams.

The Playhouse is becoming one of the best-equipped small theatres in the country.

Barbara said the Friends is seeing much bigger shows coming to the Playhouse.

Member David Kingsbury said: "The Friends Of The Playhouse was formed in 1991 as a voluntary organisation established to promote and support the theatre.

"There are more than 400 members at this moment in time including life members.

"The Friends is so successful as like-minded people come to support the local theatre and are involved in providing volunteer staff to take tickets, sell programmes and welcome patrons to the theatre."

To join the Friends or to donate, visit the Friends' website.

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