Play to the Crowd’s immediate future secured

October 12, 2020

Play to the Crowd – the arts and education charity which runs Theatre Royal Winchester, Hat Fair and Playmakers – has announced today that, due to the extraordinary support of the local community, which has raised in excess of £225,000 for Play to the Crowd’s Survival Fundraising Appeal, together with a vital support package totalling £219,134 from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund, its immediate future is secure. 

Deryck Newland, Chief Executive comments, ‘We are extremely grateful to everyone who has donated to our Survival Appeal and to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and Arts Council England for approving our application to the Culture Recovery Fund. Our Survival Appeal allowed us to survive beyond the end of September and the Culture Recovery Fund grant will help to mitigate some of the ongoing and increasing risks and uncertainties around Covid-19 across the next six months.’

David Hill, Chair of trustees for Play to the Crowd, added; “I would like to pay tribute to our remarkable trustees, who have shown such great commitment and support through this challenging time. All of the trustees would also like to send a sincere thank you for the extraordinary generosity and passion shown by our community, which has made the success of the Survival Appeal possible.

Deryck Newland then continued: ‘This has been, and continues to be, an extremely challenging time for the sector. As with many organisations we’ve had to take extreme measures to reduce our costs which heartbreakingly has meant restructuring our charity leading to staff redundancies, to build a more sustainable organisation for the future.  We are grateful to the government for recognising the value of the arts, however, the Culture Recovery Fund won’t save every venue or arts organisation and our thoughts are with those whose future remains uncertain, together with the thousands of freelancers who are the lifeblood of our industry and many of whom remain without any financial support since March.’

Play to the Crowd is one of the 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving support today. £257 million of investment has been announced today as part of the very first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England on behalf of the government. Further rounds of funding in the culture and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.

Deryck continues ‘With this support package in place we are thrilled to announce that, providing government guidelines continue to allow, we will now be able to produce a special, fun-filled and socially distanced Christmas show by the same creative team behind our pantomimes. We hope to get this on sale next week to ensure that our local community can still enjoy the festive period in a Covid secure environment – so watch this space!’

The charity’s Board will meet tomorrow evening to formally agree that Play to the Crowd’s work can continue, with the restructured and reduced team, and new business model.