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6th Jul, 2022

Curtain could fall on Stratford's beloved Bear Pit Theatre

Editorial Correspondent 26th Jan, 2021 Updated: 26th Jan, 2021

THE CURTAIN could fall for forever on a Stratford theatre company unless it can raise vital funds.

The Bear Pit Theatre Company, based at the United Reform Church in Rother Street, has launched an urgent fund-raising appeal.

In a joint statement, artistic director David Mears and chairman Simon Allen, said: “The Bear Pit Theatre is in a critical financial state. Our limited reserves have kept us going since we closed our doors in March 2020 and this has been made possible by the help of the United Reformed Church. With no income, we have continued to keep our costs to a minimum but it has reached a point where these costs can no longer be met.

“During our closure, we have been planning for the re-opening of The Bear Pit Theatre and had looked forward to welcoming our audiences back for socially distanced evenings in December.

“However, since Stratford and the rest of Warwickshire, went into Tier 4 and subsequently lockdown since January, these restrictions continue to hinder any chances for us to return and welcome back our audiences.

“Under government guidelines, our professional theatre colleagues can continue to rehearse and perform during this period of lockdown but community arts venues have not been afforded the same status. This means that The Bear Pit Theatre Company cannot even consider performing in our venue to a virtual audience.”

Behind the scenes every effort has been made to keep the company, which was founded in 2008, from facing the final curtain.

Mr Mears and Mr Allen continued: “We have made significant strides to obtain grant aid but only with very limited success, as we fall below the radar of the larger, mainly professional organisations, who have received substantial recovery grants. Our efforts continue unabated but even as a registered charity we cannot rely on our luck with grant applications alone.

“Never before, has it resonated so powerfully amongst us the many things we love and have perhaps taken for granted. Never before, have we collectively realised that we didn’t know what we had, until it has been taken away from us.

“Now, more than ever, this community venue needs your support to ensure our doors don’t permanently close. With no sign of lockdown restrictions easing, we ask that you please consider supporting your ‘little theatre with big ideas’ by making a donation to our fund-raising campaign.”

Visit www.thebearpit.org.uk for further details, or to donate email info@thebearpit.org.uk or call 07825 576933.

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