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Stamford Shakespeare Company's outdoor theatre at Tolethorpe Hall is saved

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A theatre threatened with closure because of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic has been saved.

Stamford Shakespeare Company, which has an outdoor theatre at Tolethorpe Hall, needed at least £240,000 to cover its costs after this year’s performances were cancelled.

An appeal was launched through the Rutland and Stamford Mercury at the end of August to raise the money, the equivalent to two-thirds of the theatre’s annual income from ticket sales.

Tolethorpe Hall and theatre
Tolethorpe Hall and theatre

But this afternoon (Monday) a grant of £240,000 from the Government’s Cultural Heritage Fund was awarded to Stamford Shakespeare Company.

Together with donations from supporters, as well as proceeds from a car boot sale held at the end of last month, the grant will allow the theatre to reopen next year.

Caroline Stephenson, chairman of the company said: “This is an incredibly exciting day for us. The grant, combined with our fundraising efforts, will ensure that we are able to open in 2021.

“It is amazing that our theatre has been recognised as being of national cultural significance.

“The grant of £240,000 represents two-thirds of our annual ticket income, and, together with the money from our fundraising initiative, it ensures our survival.

“Next year, our three productions will be of the same quality as always, our Grade II* listed hall will be able to be looked after and the grounds and gardens will be maintained to the same standard as our patrons expect.

“I simply cannot wait to welcome back our public and thank everyone involved with the ‘Save Your Theatre’ campaign for their support.”

Stamford Shakespeare Company was founded in 1968 by Jean Harley, with a performance of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ in the Monastery Garden of the town’s historic George Hotel. It moved to Tolethorpe Hall in 1977.

More local venues thrown a lifeline by Government money

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