10 ways to help save Hampshire’s arts scene

The Theatre Royal Winchester has opened its cafe bar to raise funds credit Play to the Crowd

The Theatre Royal Winchester has opened its cafe bar to raise funds credit Play to the Crowd - Credit: Play to the Crowd

From using their cafes to sponsoring seats - there’s lots you can do to give the county’s struggling theatres a hand.

The Anvil in Basingstoke is asking for supporters to donate the price of a ticket, and continue to b

The Anvil in Basingstoke is asking for supporters to donate the price of a ticket, and continue to book upcoming shows credit Anvil Arts - Credit: Anvil Arts

Time for tea

Play to the Crowd, the charity behind Theatre Royal Winchester and The Hat Fair, needs to raise £225,000 by the end of September or face permanent closure and you can help all for the price of a cup of tea...or coffee. The Café Bar is now open and serving up toasties, smoothies, milkshakes, cakes, pastries, hot and cold drinks with all profits going directly to Play to the Crowd’s Survival Fundraising Appeal. Supporters of the theatre can also make a donation here or call Theatre Royal Winchester’s Box Office on 01962 840440.

Watch the stage performance of Kinky Boots on a big screen in the Mayflower's auditorium credit The

Watch the stage performance of Kinky Boots on a big screen in the Mayflower's auditorium credit The Mayflower - Credit: The Mayflower

Community ties

Anvil Arts, the educational charity behind Basingstoke’s theatres The Anvil, The Forge and The Haymarket, may have had to reschedule their shows for this year, but they are encouraging people to donate what they would have spent on tickets to The Anvil Trust; as well as book for events next year. Click here to pledge your support.

Musicals at the Movies

From 9 to 20 September, The Mayflower in Southampton will be showing some of the best musicals from The West End and Broadway on a big screen in its auditorium. Kinky Boots, The King and I and 42nd Street are just some of the musical classics that will be available for theatre lovers to watch. In line with current government guidance, safe measures will be in place including enhanced cleaning, e-tickets, and socially distanced spaces in between household parties in the auditorium. Book online here

Voices of the West End

If, like us, you’re desperately missing live performances, then the stars of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ have something special for you. For over nine years between them, they brought down the chandelier at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London’s West End playing the lead role and now, in the wake of the greatest crisis their industry has ever faced, Earl Carpenter and John Owen-Jones have found a way of taking down the barriers to enjoying a night out at the theatre- by going open air. The duo will be bringing the magic of the musicals live to audiences once again to the glorious surroundings of Broadlands Park, Romsey from 4 to 6 September. Three-metre square, roped o? picnic pitches will ensure lovers of live performance can again enjoy the West End’s finest voices perform with live musicians in a safe environment. Tickets start at £110 and can be purchased through the Mayflower box office.

Make a donation

The Point in Eastleigh and The Berry Theatre in Hedge End are incredible venues, but they need our help to survive. Throughout the pandemic they have put on a series of inspiring online events, workshops and classes to encourage the community to come together during their closure. You can donate just £5 which will enable the theatres to continue to support vulnerable members of the community to access the arts, reduce isolation and improve their quality of life. Run classes and companies for young people and adults to support mental and physical health. Give talented young people the support to develop skills for future careers. Work with teachers and students to creatively enhance their core curriculum and support professional artists to create new experiences that keep audiences safe, whilst delivering the magic of live performance.

Sponsor a seat

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For 110 years audiences have enjoyed musicals, plays, comedy, opera, dance, talks and film in the sumptuous surroundings of Southsea’s The Kings’ beautiful Grade II listed proscenium arch theatre, designated by the Theatres Trust as a ‘theatre of national architectural importance’. As a registered charity they rely upon ticket sales to keep doors open, and are suffering badly in the pandemic. You can help by becoming a part of the theatre’s history and sponsoring a seat. You will receive a personalised plaque on a seat for three years and gain priority booking. Call 02392 852239 to find out more.

Meet and Greet

The Kings Theatre will be hosting an exclusive series of Q&A sessions for September and October, starting with Bonnie Langford on September 5. To coincide with their Film+ screenings, you can meet the stars of the stage in the theatre’s Irving Room before you watch the performance. Tickets start at £25 and are in aid of the charity Acting for Others. Book online here

Show your support

The New Theatre Royal has been in Portsmouth for over 160 years proudly serving the people of the city and the surrounding communities. They are urging visitors to continue to book tickets for upcoming events, or to make a donation.

Become a friend

So many of Hampshire’s theatres have some excellent member benefits for very reasonable yearly fees. Enjoy priority bookings, exclusive news and advance information at venues like Anvil Arts, New Theatre Royal and The Lights in Andover. It’s a great way to support your favourite theatres and keep up to date with their latest news.

One for the kids

Aldershot’s Princes Hall will be continuing with its Youth Theatre in September and is a fantastic way to connect with the venue and build a life-long love of the arts. Accepting children from age five and up, the Youth Theatre will work to a different theme each term, culminating in a final performance for friends and family. £90 per term.

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