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Play to the Crowd launches fundraising appeal to support Theatre Royal Winchester

Published 3 July 2020

The arts and education charity, Play to the Crowd which runs Theatre Royal Winchester, Hat Fair and Playmakers, has today announced that it needs to raise £225,000 by the end of September in order to survive beyond the Covid crisis.

Deryck Newland, Chief Executive comments: “Since Theatre Royal Winchester was forced to close on 16 March, overnight we lost 80% of our income from ticket and bar sales. This is financially devastating us. Despite taking significant measures and difficult decisions to safeguard the charity we now need our community’s help. Today, on what would have been the first day of Hat Fair, we have launched our Survival Fundraising Appeal and urge those within our community who are able to, to donate without delay to help us be there beyond this crisis.

“As yet we do not have any guidelines from the UK government as to when live performance or events can return. This is making it impossible to know when we can start planning and programming.

“With no source of income, no indication as to when we may be able to re-open, reduced audiences due to social distancing, and the imminent changes to the Job Retention scheme from August and end to the scheme in October, we are also now having to make tough decisions about reducing our staffing cost base. So it is with great sadness and a heavy heart that we are currently undergoing restructuring consultations with our team.

“We are absolutely determined to survive this – the small team that are currently working, together with our extremely committed Board of Trustees, are exploring every avenue to get us through this.

“Live performance and creative participation are absolutely vital to so many people’s well-being and positive mental health and beyond this crisis as a society we will need these activities more than ever.

“Help us be there for our community by making a donation or spreading the word about our appeal. For anyone who has purchased tickets for future shows you can rest assured that your money is safe and should the event get cancelled then you will always be offered a full refund.

“We look forward to being able to present shows again in the theatre, restart all our community engagement work and bring a super special Hat Fair to you in 2021.

“Together we can save live professional performance for Winchester. Don’t delay, donate now.

“Thank you.”

Play to the Crowd have cancelled this year’s Hat Fair Outdoor Arts festival, Playmakers activities and all live events at Theatre Royal Winchester until 31 August 2020 currently.

To make a donation go to www.crowdfunder.co.uk/playtothecrowd or call Theatre Royal Winchester’s Box Office on 01962 840 440.


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We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.