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Rowntree Players raise £7,654

Rowntree Players raise £7,654

posted 30 Mar 2022

Rowntree Players’ ‘The Missing Peace’ raises £7654

Back in 2019 Gemma McDonald read Ian Donaghy’s book “The Missing Peace: Creating a life after death” and convinced the Rowntree Players to take on a challenging play about how people survive losing those they love the most.

“As I read each story, I could see them on a stage.”
Gemma chose and adapted 15 of the monologues to create “The Missing Peace: One Play Fifteen Endings”

All was in place…cast..script..rehearsals for an April 16th opening night in 2020 but a pandemic stopped the world from turning and they were told the show “mustn’t go on”.

It was rescheduled for September then shelved again until a tentative Jan 2022 date where even then the back end of Delta and Omicron looked to threaten the stage with darkness again.

The interim 650 days had seen some original cast members leave the city or change circumstances so many of the monologues had to be changed and recast.

They could have given up but didn’t.

The plan was to get people talking about grief, dying …it had more relevance than ever.

It was agreed that all profits would be shared between St. Leonard’s Hospice and Bereaved Children’s Support in York.

“Filling a theatre during a pandemic wasn’t easy but we had so many people in our corner. We had batches of seats sponsored by supporters from all over the country to give to care staff and NHS workers who had been invaluable in the past two years. This was community coming together.”

Supporting partners in their corner included Springfield Healthcare, One Life Funeral Planning, Radis Community Care, Alpaca and North Yorkshire Orthopaedic Surgeons.

The play didn’t stop when the curtain came down as people all gathered outside to say how they identified with each monologue. People left the theatre thinking which of their friends needed them.

Thanks to the efforts of everyone both on and off stage, The Missing Peace made £7654 (£3827 to each charity).

Director of the play for Rowntree Players Gemma McDonald said:

"I am incredibly proud of The Missing Peace. From the original idea of adapting Ian's book into a play, through the rehearsal process (for then it to be cancelled due to COVID-19) and then getting back into the rehearsal room with some new cast members, once restrictions allowed. The final performance was exactly the way I imagined it, actually is was much better!"

"All the performers were completely invested in the play and were so committed to it. They understood my vision for the adaptation and worked hard on bringing these very meaningful and powerful monologues, to life. Adding the live music of Pete, created just the right atmosphere, with the original music by Ian, this worked seamlessly within the show. Finally, the volunteers at the theatre we're very supportive and wanted the very best for the performance that was raising funds for two important charities. Nick Lay created exactly the right atmosphere with the lighting, one of my favourite images is the silhouetted characters in the station" 

Jo Cole Founder of Bereaved Children Support York said:

“The Missing Peace was a powerful, emotional play with great stories, beautifully told by some talented actors. I was involved when Ian first had the idea to write the book and acted as a sounding board as well as contributing mine and my son’s stories too. It worked wonderfully as a play, sparking conversations between those who saw it, because whatever their own experience there was at least one story portrayed that they could relate too. (In fact on the night we went our group was the last to leave the theatre, because we were talking about what we had just seen!).

Ian has been a long-term supporter and fundraiser for BCSY, for which we are immensely grateful. Money raised will help to continue funding ongoing one-to-one therapeutic support that we provide for bereaved children and young people living in York.

This is a community theatre group in a community theatre using an original play written in the city performed by people in the city.

York helping York.

Ian added:

“To see Gemma make the play leap from page in such a stunning venue at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre was breath-taking but to make this amount of money is an outstanding effort from all involved who performed and who came to support the performances.” 

The Rowntree Players are back at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre with their latest production from Thursday 31st March. Don't miss out and find out more