COLUMN: Behind the Scenes...at Theatre Royal, Wakefield
It is a real pleasure to work at Theatre Royal Wakefield and witness hordes of people arriving to enjoy their night's entertainment.
As the Theatre’s popular programme expands, the limitations of hosting certain projects in Wakefield’s historic theatre is apparent.
As well as the lack of a dedicated learning space, the restricted accessibility of parts of the building means that new facilities are greatly needed in order to make our projects accessible to the whole community. To this end, it has been exciting to focus the Theatre’s fundraising efforts on the development of a new Centre for Creativity on Westgate.
The ongoing construction work has been funded by a number of regional and national charitable trusts and foundations, as well as significant support from both Wakefield Council and Arts Council England.
We have now launched a public ‘buy a star’ campaign which will fill the new space with vital equipment and resources.
Support from audiences and local business will allow the historic and contemporary Theatre buildings to serve the community for years to come. We are proud to be following in the footsteps of supporters who were responsible for resurrecting the Theatre Royal building in the early 1980s.
Their fundraising efforts supported the restoration of the grade II* listed building to its Victorian grandeur, as designed in 1894 by renowned architect Frank Matcham. In the 30-plus years since the Theatre reopened, many of the original key supporters have continued to be involved.
Over 70 volunteers, aged from 16 to 80, act as front-of-house stewards and support our fundraising.
Public support over the years has allowed the Theatre to ensure that the building continues to serve its original purpose as the home of live entertainment in Wakefield.
As our learning work continues to expand, the Theatre’s fundraising team has reached out to and received support from local businesses to create a bursary programme allowing young people from all backgrounds to take part.
Funding from charitable trusts and foundations has helped to extend our work to vulnerable groups such as isolated older people and adults working to improve their mental wellbeing.
It has been very rewarding to see our ‘Passport to Theatre’ programme grow with the support of health charities and the business community.
It allows us to welcome all sections of the community to share in the magic of live theatre. When we’ve raised all the funds for our new extension we’ll be able to provide even more of these sorts of activities.
For more information contact Jon Ingham on 01924 334116 or visit http://www.theatreroyalwakefield.co.uk/buy-a-star