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News: Award for volunteers at Little Theatre Gateshead

Award for volunteers at Little Theatre Gateshead

Volunteers at Little Theatre Gateshead have been awarded an EMCEE 2020 award for their fundraising efforts to create a new rehearsal space at their unique venue opposite Saltwell Park, Gateshead.

The EMCEEs 2020 is the UK arts, culture and heritage sector’s chance to celebrate fundraising success. The awards are run through the National Arts Fundraising School, London and were created to recognise excellence in arts and culture fundraising.

The award was in the category: Best Major Fundraising Campaign over £100,000 and winners show strong evidence of having a supporter-centred approach, a strong underlying strategy and an innovative or creative approach.

Built in 1943 Little Theatre was the only theatre in the UK built during World War 2 due to the generosity of the Dodds Family, in particular Ruth, Hope and Sylvia Dodds. The Little Theatre Gateshead is a registered charity (510742) and is not regularly funded by public or private funds so the capital appeal for funding was a ‘one off’ appeal for help to create a new rehearsal room equal in size to the main stage. Progressive Players Gateshead present 10 shows per year at Little Theatre Gateshead and annual audiences number 12,000.

Bernard Ross, Director of the National Arts Fundraising School said: “In a tough category this was a standout application. All the judges agreed this was a fabulous example of what volunteers can do. And an inspiration to professionals!”

Little Theatre Gateshead volunteers were represented by their bid writer Gill Adams at an online, digital ceremony last night. In an acceptance speech Gill Adams said:
“It’s a huge pleasure to be working on the capital appeal to raise funds for a new rehearsal space at Little Theatre. The award is all the more special since, due to the Covid-19 lockdown, the theatre has been temporarily closed since mid-March. We take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to all of the funders who have supported us this far and send a plea to any other funders out there who can help us raise the last few thousand so that when we reopen it will be with the addition of a new rehearsal space!”

Robbie Carruthers, Chair of Trustees at Little Theatre explained: “As a volunteer organisation with no regular public or private funding we were thrilled to be almost at our target, we only need another £30,000 so it was much appreciated that a representative at Arts Council England nominated Little Theatre Gateshead for the EMCEE 2020 award to celebrate our fundraising efforts so far.”

“The new rehearsal space will be a huge benefit to the volunteer actors, our partners, the Progressive Players Gateshead and the other community groups who perform and rehearse at Little Theatre. Participants will be able to rehearse in a space that will be equal in size to the main stage which will be a major bonus when rehearsing, particularly the larger cast plays, and we can’t wait to reach our target and complete this capital project.”

Bid writer Gill Adams added: “This award is testament to the tenacity of the fundraising team at Little Theatre. So if any funders out there can help us by contributing to the remaining amount, please contact me through the Theatre website Thank you!”

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