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Stamford Shakespeare Company at Tolethorpe 'overwhelmed' by response to Save Your Theatre fundraising bid

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A struggling theatre company has been “overwhelmed” by the support from the community after it launched a fundraising campaign for survival.

Caroline Stephenson, chairman of Stamford Shakespeare Company (SSC) based at Tolethorpe Hall, said everyone at the open air theatre had been heartened by the response.

SSC revealed on Friday last week that it needed to recoup £240,000 in lost ticket sales to stay afloat .


A Just Giving page entitled ‘Save Your Theatre’ has so far raised more than £8,900.

Caroline said: “We are overwhelmed by the support from the community. The love for SSC at Tolethorpe is clear from the reaction to our Save Your Theatre campaign.

“Thank you to everyone who is getting involved with saving our beloved theatre.”

The highly-regarded company, based at Tolethorpe since 1977, has been entertaining theatre-lovers for more than 50 years.

SSC chairman Caroline Stephenson. Photo: Nicholas Farka RED&ROUND
SSC chairman Caroline Stephenson. Photo: Nicholas Farka RED&ROUND

But the Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact, forcing the board of directors to close the hall in March and postpone the entire season of performances until next year.

The loss of revenue, combined with the huge costs of maintaining and insuring Grade II* listed Tolethorpe Hall and its grounds, has brought SSC to its knees.

The board said on the Just Giving page: “When we closed, we had sold just under a third of expected tickets, about 10,500, and annually we sell over 30,000. The deficit in ticket sales equates to roughly £240,000, that is £240,000 lost in revenue.

“We are now trying to survive on a third of our annual revenue over a two-year period, which we will not be able to do.”

The grounds of Tolethorpe Hall
The grounds of Tolethorpe Hall

It continued: “Without your support we will cease to exist, a terrifying thought but at the moment this is our reality.”

People are being urged to spread the word about SSC’s plight, as well as donate to the cause and even set up their own fundraising events.

Visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/SSCsaveyourtheatre to donate or send a cheque, made payable to Stamford Shakespeare Company, to Tolethorpe Hall, Little Casterton, Stamford, PE9 4BH.

For further information email admin@stamfordshakespeare.co.uk

Save Your Theatre campaign. Photo: Nicholas Farka RED&ROUND
Save Your Theatre campaign. Photo: Nicholas Farka RED&ROUND

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