Four weeks into our Emergency Appeal Campaign

We are now four weeks into our Emergency Appeal Campaign and we have welcomed just over £20,000 from individual donors. This figure includes an army of 89 new White Rose Members – a scheme that was reviewed this time last year and offers some brilliant perks including the very popular priority booking.

Our doors remain closed and we continue to follow government advice. Last week we took the tough decision to furlough some staff and others have voluntarily accepted reductions in pay, to help the theatre survive through these unprecedented times.

Even still, we are struggling and for each week we are closed we will continue to do so. More and more show cancellations results in instability for the theatre bank account and poses additional risk. In an attempt to offset the collateral damage we are now aiming for an ambitious weekly fundraising target of £4,000 if we are to survive this closure period. If you haven't already and are able, please do consider donating.

We are also asking people to consider booking for our flagship autumn/ winter events too. Naturally we are unclear at this point just how long we will be closed for, or what the re-open Harrogate Theatre looks like.

As we cautiously plan for reopening we are thinking carefully about how we can adjust our models and processes to ensure you are safe. This includes looking at how we manage seating plans, interval drinks, movement around the building and the issuing and checking of tickets. It also involves new hygiene policies and a significant communications strategy to reassure those desperate to reengage with the arts yet understandably nervous about public spaces and interaction with others. We have a huge job ahead of us.

This week I read a fascinating paper that draws comparisons with theatres in the aftermath of the 1918 ‘Spanish’ flu pandemic. I took some comfort from a quote in the paper that stated:

“Our audiences will return, perhaps even with pent-up enthusiasm after self-isolating with Netflix and Disney+ for many weeks. 

We will emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic with a new appreciation for how connected we really are, irrespective of the availability of global travel. At our best, we’ll find a “we’re all in this together” attitude that will embrace new and adventurous artistic work.”

I truly hope this prediction is accurate. Thank you for your continued patience and support. We really are all in this together.