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Malvern Theatres Fundraising Appeal

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by Alison Brinkworth (subscribe)
Freelance journalist in Birmingham with a passion for the dynamic theatre, art, food and fashion scene in Britain's 'Second City'.
Published May 29th 2020
How you can help save Malvern Theatres from closure
It's one of the most unique historic theatres in the country that became synonymous with George Bernard Shaw but the Coronavirus outbreak has now put the future of Malvern Theatres under threat.

malvern theatres, historic theatre, west midlands
Stunning Malvern Theatres in Worcestershire


The distinctive theatre complex in the shadow of the Malvern Hills in Grange Road, Malvern, has provided entertainment and the arts since 1885 - but its income disappeared overnight when it closed its doors in March due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

Unlike most other theatres, only 1% of its running costs are publicly funded and so it relies on ticket sales to keep operating. Malvern Theatres has some emergency reserves to rely on, but with social distancing measures set to continue and theatres likely to be one of the last places to reopen, these savings will soon run dry.

With that in mind, Malvern Theatres bosses have launched a fundraising appeal with hopes to reach at least 100,000 through donations from its audiences, friends, and supporters.

Every penny will be used to cover unavoidable monthly costs, as well as bolster the theatre's diminishing reserves.

Esteemed History

It is a heavy blow for theatre bosses as the venue has gone from strength to strength in recent years, hosting stage premieres before shows head to London's West End or tour nationally. Earlier this year, Malvern welcomed Blithe Spirit starring Jennifer Saunders ahead of its stint in London.

blithe spirit, jennifer saunders, malvern theatres
New shows flock to Malvern including Blithe Spirit starring Jennifer Saunders in 2020


But all that could end due to Covid-19 as its long-term future is in jeopardy without significant financial support.

Originally called the Festival Theatre, it became renowned for putting on George Bernard Shaw productions in the 1930s when Shaw lived in the town.

Up to 1965, 19 different plays of Shaw were produced at the theatre including six premieres of Shaw's plays, such as The Apple Cart in 1929.

george bernard shaw
George Bernard Shaw premiered many of his plays in Malvern


Later, the theatre became known for airing works by famed local composer - the world-famous Edward Elgar.

To help revive the theatre in the Sixties, Malvern Festival Theatre Trust was set up in 1965 that included an extensive refurbishment. J B Priestley even presided over the opening ceremony of the first summer season


Theatre's Hour Of Need

The theatre has taken all steps to reduce its monthly overheads but still has significant unavoidable outgoings and the next few months will be critical for its survival. The theatre's skeleton staff are also busy applying for trust and grant support to help the theatre get through the next few months.

Chief Executive Nic Lloyd said: "Malvern Theatres is at the heart of our community and we are so delighted that so many have come forward to help us in our hour of need.

"We work hard to provide entertainment 364 days of the year, not to mention our weekly classes for people of all ages and abilities, and we know that the loss of the theatre would be devastating for everyone in the town, including the many businesses who rely on us for customers.

"Thank you to everyone who has donated so far, including the many people who have set up monthly direct debits. If you've yet to contribute, please consider doing so today. Every single penny we raise over the next six months will make a vital difference to our future
."

robert lindsay, malvern theatres, fundraising
Actor Robert Lindsay has helped bring in money to Malvern Theatres in the past


Many stars of stage and screen have been involved with helping boost fundraising for Malvern Theatres including actor Robert Lindsay.

Members of the public are also doing their own fundraisers for the theatre, including Leigh Sinton postman Ian Palmer who will be doing his usual round dressed as a superhero and is hoping to raise 500. To donate visit malvern-theatres.co.uk/support
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Why? Help save a historic theatre from closure
When: Anytime
Phone: 01684 892277
Where: Grange Rd, Great Malvern, Malvern, WR14 3HB
Cost: As much as you can donate
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