Theatre needs funds to plug gaps as it fights threat of closure

A THEATRE is seeking donations to help fill gaps after losing out on funding because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Shows at Hyde Festival theatre have had to be put off, now damage and the theft of lead has meant an online initiative has been launched.

And chairman Daniel Oliver-Grant says that if the current situation stays into the new year, there is a real threat the doors could close for good.

Hyde Festival Theatre

More immediately, though, is the desire for £5,000 to help cover the costs of repairing water damage, caused mainly to backstage areas.

He said: “We usually have ongoing repairs and other bits of maintenance that make the front of house look more presentable and we’ve been able to do those through donations of paint and things like that.

“However, the roof above the back stairwell, which has concrete stairs, has been damaged and water has been leaking in.

“We’re looking at having to get the roof in that area completely relaid and having spoken to insurers, with the excess and things like that it’s not really worth going through them.

“Also, we’ve recently discovered that in another area, someone has been up during lockdown and stolen all the read, meaning water can get in there.

“Now our backstage area is full of water and leaks. Internally, all the paint is starting to come off and the plaster is starting to crumble.

“That alone will be another couple of thousand pounds on top of the repairs to the roof above the back stairwell.

“The priority is to get the building fully operational.”

Interior of Hyde festival theatre

Hyde Festival Theatre, which stands on Corporation Street, also has a bill down the line – with pricing estimating it to be £5,000-£6,000 – to repair damage caused when a lorry hit the front of it.

Even if it is allowed to stage shows, it will be in front of maximum crowds of 90 rather than its usual capacity of 230.

This year’s pantomime, Sleeping Beauty: The Movie – an adapted version of the classic to reduce the required number of cast members – has been out back to February.

There has been some money coming in as its Covid-19 policy means dance groups have been able to rehearse there.

But compared to the normal income it brings in, it is much reduced.

Daniel added: “Our average outgoings are about £1,300 a month and what we bring in usually meets that.

“And over the last five years, we’ve ran at a £2,000 profit for the year, last year was better as we’d done fundraisers under our previous chairman.

“I’m glad we did, otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to survive this year.

“We’ve had the £10,000 from the Government like every other business but a corner shop might only have the premises rent and the costs of electric and gas for a small premises.

“Ours is much larger, so heating is much more expensive. That lasted us five or six months and now as we’re currently in tier three we can’t do anything.

“We have had some groups in using the space to rehearse but normally it costs £200 a day to hire the theatre. If someone is only in for two or three hours, we can’t charge a full day’s rent.

“We’re doing what we can to keep the theatre alive. If we don’t raise the £5,000, we won’t be able to operate as we could.

“But if we end up in tier three until the new year, by March or April we could be in a very, very difficult position.”

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