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York theatre launches lockdown music video to launch “Raise the Roof” fundraiser

todayJune 17, 2020 3

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The Joseph Rowntree Theatre launches music video fundraiser for roof repairs ahead of expansion plan, bucking the trend of depressing news from theatres across the country.

This Wednesday, 17th June, the Joseph Rowntree Theatre is launching a song on You Tube to help fundraise £5,000 to go towards vital roof repairs.  The total fundraising target for the repairs is £90,000.  The campaign, Raise the Roof, features a cover version of the Drifters’ song, Up on the Roof, originally written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King. The video has been produced, arranged and performed by some of the many York-based performers who call the building their theatrical home, many of whom also count themselves amongst the theatre’s army of volunteers.  Put together during lockdown via socially distanced media, the video is available to view here

Ollie Nash, one of the theatre’s stage managers and Jessica Douglas, a regular musical director of shows produced at the venue, have between them formed a team of singers and musicians to create the video, which has been a real challenge under lockdown conditions. In the week leading up to its release Ollie spent a total of 30 hours pulling all the bits together for the final edit.

Graham Mitchell, the theatre’s fundraising and events director says, “We’ve had great fun putting this video together.  The fact that so many of our performing and volunteering community came together “virtually” to produce this shows just how much the future success of the theatre means to them.”

At a time when the outlook is so bleak for many arts venues across the country, the Joseph Rowntree Theatre believes it is in a particularly strong position given the fact that the charity that runs it owns the building and the venue is operated entirely by more than 170 unpaid volunteers.

Dan Shrimpton, the chair of the board of trustees says, “We are using this period of enforced closure to look after and improve the fabric of the building.  The roof repairs need to be completed before we can move on with our major plans to expand the building.  The new insulation and solar panels will significantly reduce our operating costs and also the impact we have on the environment. The expansion plans will make our venue even greener and more accessible.”

The current roof has stood the test of time and has not needed any major work since the theatre was built, 85years ago.  This is not the first time it has appeared in a news article, though.  In 2012 the Daily Telegraph published a story which told of a teenage Dame Judi Dench coming down from the roof after watching the sunset with a group of friends.  One brave young man took the opportunity to sneak a quick kiss on the way down the ladder!  Dame Judi doesn’t remember the name of the chap, but it is a favourite anecdote amongst the theatre’s volunteers.

To launch the Raise the Roof campaign the theatre has set up a Just Giving page and is encouraging people to donate even just the amount of a takeaway coffee.  The link to the page is here

Contact details

Graham Mitchell (Company Secretary and Events and Fundraising Director) is available for interview:

Mobile   07761 683440


Written by: YO1 Radio Web Team

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