A FUNDRAISING drive to help save Pickering’s Kirk Theatre is continuing as fears grow its closure will continue into next year.

Donations of £7,700 have already been made to cover running costs, however further funds are needed to secure the theatre’s long-term future.

From July 4 museums, theatres and cinemas were permitted to welcome back visitors under safety guidance and social distancing measures, for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown in March.

Kirk Theatre manager Luke Arnold said: “With social distancing measures still in place our usual 200-seat auditorium is reduced to less than 50 seats making any form of event financially unviable.

“The safety of our audiences and volunteers is a major concern for us as many are in the at-risk category and it would be unfair to ask them to put themselves at a greater risk.

“With this in mind and the continuing daily rise in Covid-19 cases, my fears are that our closure will run into 2021 and begin to challenge our productions and events planned for next year.

“So with the threat of a prolonged closure we now find ourselves looking for more funding to secure the theatre and cover the running costs in 2021.

“With this in mind we need to raise a further £5,000 to cover the theatre until the end of March 2021.

“Without the donations received we would have had to make some very difficult decisions on the future of the theatre and I personally can’t thank everyone who has donated enough.

“I continue to be hopeful that some of the £1.5bn of government help will trickle down to us, but as yet we have not been eligible for any of the funding. In the meantime if anyone is able to donate again it really would be appreciated.”

As well as excepting donations, the Kirk Theatre is selling calendars and shopping bags, along with gift vouchers.

Luke said: “Our sponsor a seat programme is a great way of helping to fund us, whether it’s a dedication in memory of a loved one, or simply a mark of support for the theatre.

“The seat will carry a plaque displaying your sponsorship for future audiences to see and will last for five years.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank our wardrobe mistress Kath who has been hard at work at home making face masks to help support our crisis fund.

“Finally, just one more big thank you from all of us here for your continued support and interest in our lovely theatre.

“We can’t wait to welcome you back the curtain will rise again.”

Anyone who would like to make a donation to the Kirk Theatre, or for more information, phone 01751 474833 or go to kirktheatre.co.uk