A positive first few weeks of fundraising...

I hope you, your family and friends are managing to stay well.

As you hopefully know by now, Harrogate Theatre has launched an Emergency Appeal and I’m delighted to report a positive first few weeks of fundraising. This includes many new White Rose Members, generous one-off donations, and ticket money kindly donated following show cancellations. I’d like to thank all of you who have made a donation to date. We are astounded and comforted by all of the generosity and kind words.

I’m delighted to say that as an additional boost we have just signed Harrogate Comedy Festival headline sponsorship deal with VetDentist.co.uk, which could not be timelier and for which we are incredibly grateful.

For the time being, our doors remain closed. Naturally this means our ticket sales are very much down – by around £100,000 on the same period last year. This stall in cash flow leaves us in an on going predicament, and the longer it continues the higher the risk we face. In response to this we’ve now set a weekly fundraising target of £4,000, which is a minimum amount we need to raise from now for every week we are closed if we are to make it to the other side of this. We will be updating everyone on how we are doing via our social media each week.

To update you further, we are cautiously continuing to plan for delivery of our autumn season. If all goes well the opening of the third HT Rep season in September could be quite the occasion! In addition we have just launched our 12thannual Harrogate Comedy Festival in the hope it will give people something fun to look forward to. Do have a look at some of the huge names in comedy we have booked in to Harrogate’s main stages this October.

Finally I’d like to extend thoughts and thanks to our outstanding colleagues at Harrogate Convention Centre, the Royal Hall, and Harrogate Borough Council. Watching the magnificent work that has gone in to NHS Nightingale this last week has been incredibly humbling and emotional, and has made me more proud than ever of this town.

There’s no denying it will be a long and steep road ahead for many of us, but it’s heart warming to see how much people in this town care about our theatre and each other.

Stay safe, and thank you.

First published in the Harrogate Advertiser on THU 8 APRIL