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Coronavirus: Hornchurch and Romford theatres appeal to public for support at this ‘financially devastating’ time

PUBLISHED: 12:23 18 March 2020 | UPDATED: 12:52 18 March 2020

Queen's Theatre Hornchurch has cancelled performances for the forseeable future. Picture: Gary Summers

Queen's Theatre Hornchurch has cancelled performances for the forseeable future. Picture: Gary Summers

Gary Summers

With Romford’s Brookside Theatre announcing its closure until the end of April and Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch, cancelling all upcoming shows, the venues are appealing for help,

The news comes after the prime minister advised all “non-essential contact” to be avoided to delay the spread of coronavirus.

This sparked theatres across London to announce their closure for the duration of the pandemic.

Jai Sepple, artistic director at Brookside, said: “We receive no funding from the local authority or Arts Council support and therefore, as an entirely self-funded, voluntary run arts venue, the impact of Covid-19 will unquestionably pose a critical threat to the Brookside Theatre and its future. Without these performances, our entire income is gone.”

The venue has launched a donations campaign to try and save the theatre from permanent closure, and with all shows cancelled, it will be relying solely on support from friends, supporters and the community.

“We are determined to survive, to retain our dedicated volunteer team and get our shows back on track as soon as possible but we need your help - any donation, large or small, will be so greatly appreciated and ensure that this community theatre stays thriving once this crisis has passed,” said Jai.

Queen’s Theatre said its co-production of Maggie May, which would have opened officially this week, will no longer play remaining performances at the theatre and ticket holders have been told not to go.

“As an audience member, if you are able to consider donating the value of your tickets‎ for Maggie May to the theatre, rather than seeking a refund, this would help us greatly at a difficult time,” said the executive director Mathew Russell. Further to this, all shows have been cancelled for the foreseeable future.

He added: “As a much loved charity serving the local community, the cancellation of lots of events at the theatre will be financially devastating for us, particularly as our public funding received represents less than 15 per cent of the costs of running the theatre and putting on productions and participatory project.” Consider donating here.

The Society of London Theatre (SOLT), which represents hundreds of theatres in the capital including the National Theatre, London Palladium and London Coliseum - and UK Theatre said the decision to close was “not taken lightly”.

The Royal Shakespeare Company also announced its three theatres will close following the government’s advice as well as Theatre Royal Stratford East closing until further notice.

Nadia Fall, artistic director of Stratford East said: “Royal Stratford East is a beloved cornerstone of the local community as well as the London theatre landscape and we are determined to survive this closure and to return with gusto, with new and exciting shows to entertain you all when this is all over!”


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