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Romford theatre appeals for Havering's help raising £35,000 for new seating

PUBLISHED: 13:00 08 November 2017

Brookside Theatre's current seating, made of up individual seats, has long been in need of replacement. Photo: Jai Sepple

Brookside Theatre's current seating, made of up individual seats, has long been in need of replacement. Photo: Jai Sepple

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One of Romford's most popular theatres is asking Havering's residents to contribute to an online fundraiser so it can finally purchase proper seating.

Brookside Theate in Romford has won a most welcoming theate award. Jai and Harri outside the theatreBrookside Theate in Romford has won a most welcoming theate award. Jai and Harri outside the theatre

The Brookside Theatre in Eastern Road, Romford, is appealing for help to raise the £35,000 needed to install proper tiered, theatre-style seating in its auditorium.

Since 2011, a number of local volunteers have given their time and effort to restore the long-neglected, Romford War Memorial Social Club in which the theatre is housed.

The theatre soon gained an excellent reputation for the quality of its shows.

But the same could not be said for the individual metal chairs it currently uses as seating.

Left to right: Doug Carpenter, Ryan Castellino, Victoria Matlock, Jim Holdridge and Daniel Tatar in a scene from the NYMF production of Left to right: Doug Carpenter, Ryan Castellino, Victoria Matlock, Jim Holdridge and Daniel Tatar in a scene from the NYMF production of "Life Could Be a Dream." Picture: Peter James Zielinski/Brookside Theatre/Picasa

Jai Sepple, theatre manager, said: “It is incredibly frustrating when we read through hundreds of audience feedback forms, all praising how helpful the staff are and how great our shows are, but then you end up reading comment after comment about how poor the seating is.

“Everyone who works here volunteers, we’re not funded at all by any grants or government money.

“We do our best to keep on top of the little jobs we can do, but with something like this the money to install new up-to-standard seating is out of our reach.”

To that end, an online fundraiser has now been set up at crowdfunder.co.uk, and will be open until December 2 for residents to offer some help.

Elo encounterElo encounter

Jai added: “The thing is that £35,000 can seem a bit daunting when you see it on the website, but when you think about the fact we have more than 5,000 people on our mailing list, and the countless others who come through our doors every so often to see a show, it’s not completely unreasonable.

“The Crowdfunder page had only been up for a matter of minutes when it got its first donation, and hopefully we can keep up that momentum going.”

Jai is also hoping to get businesses from across the borough to sponsor individual seats for £100 each.

Every company that contributed would be honoured by a plaque in the foyer as well as in all future in-house programmes and brochures.

To donate, visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/brookside-theatre-seating-fund or email info@brooksidetheatre.com.

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