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Joseph Rowntree Theatre awarded two grants

Joseph Rowntree Theatre awarded two grants

posted 06 Nov 2020

The Joseph Rowntree Theatre has recently been awarded two grants which will help to ensure that when the theatre reopens its doors to the public it will be meeting all the current coronavirus recommendations and will be a COVID-secure theatre with “Good to Go” status.

The first of the grants is a local one, with £4,940.00 donated by the Heworth Ward Committee of City of York Council.  As the theatre started making plans to reopen and reorganise the seating in the auditorium, the social distancing of patrons was of paramount importance. The grant has meant that the venue has purchased 260 Covid-19 distancing chair wraps to block off unavailable seats, ensuring that household bubbles are kept a safe distance apart from each other.  The wraps will allow for complete flexibility of seating layouts from one performance to the next as they can be very easily repositioned.

Dan Shrimpton, chair of the board of trustees of the theatre says, “We understand the caution of some people about returning to live entertainment venues. These covers will mean that our audience will be able to access their bubble area quickly and safely without coming into close contact with others. "

The second grant comes from the Theatres Trust and has been awarded to the Joseph Rowntree Theatre to go towards reopening costs. The sum of £3,000 has helped to fund the purchase of equipment such as sanitiser stations, signage, screens for backstage etc., to enable the venue to reopen safely.

Graham Mitchell, the theatre’s Fundraising and Events Director says, “We need to make sure that our venue is abiding by all of the current recommendations for theatres. The costs associated with reopening are significant, and, of course, we haven’t had any income for many months. We are very grateful to the Theatres Trust for their continued support.”

Only last month the theatre announced that it had exceeded its fundraising target of £10,000 in a national campaign being run by the Theatres Trust to support theatres nationwide. This money will be used to fund the day to day running of the venue instead of using up some of the cash savings which had been previously earmarked for essential repair work.


Every penny helps the Joseph Rowntree Theatre throughout these uncertain times. While we are not as free to go out and spend money on things like coffee and cakes, glass of wine or beer, and generally eating out and socialising, why not donate the money you’ve saved to support our community theatre. Even if we only put a couple of pounds a week away it would all add up and make a massive difference.