Southwold's Theatre on the Coast stages crowdfunding appeal to save summer season

Theatre on the Coast producer Matthew Townshend who has launched a crowdfunding appeal to save Southwold's summer season

Theatre on the Coast producer Matthew Townshend who has launched a crowdfunding appeal to save Southwold's summer season - Credit: Alex Hermon

An annual summer theatre season that has been running in Suffolk for more than 80 years is at risk of closure following the long-term effects of lockdown restrictions.

Theatre on the Coast, previously known as Suffolk Summer Theatre, has been entertaining audiences at Southwold Arts Centre every summer since 1937. The season was inherited by Matthew Townshend Productions (mtp) in 2019 and saved the theatrical season from closure.

Now following multiple UK-wide lockdowns and local tiered restrictions, the summer season is at risk of closure once again. A CrowdFunder appeal has been launched in an effort to raise money to keep the Theatre on the Coast running.

Kitty Dunham in Attagirls! staged last year by THeatre on the Coast

Kitty Dunham in Attagirls! staged last year by THeatre on the Coast - Credit: David Hermon

Producer Matthew Townshend said: “We’re saddened to find ourselves in this position. Theatres were the first to close in the initial nation-wide lockdown and they’ll be the last to open.

“The arts industry is suffering immensely, which is why we are appealing to past and future theatregoers of Theatre on the Coast to help save this historical season.”

Last year Theatre on the Coast’s season had to become a virtual event at the last minute due to the uncertainty of theatre openings during the pandemic.

Despite the ongoing uncertainties about re-opening, the 2021 season already has a star-studded programme lining up, with plans for the programme including ‘Allo ‘Allo star Vicki Michelle in Hello Norma Jeane; with Terry Johnson’s Olivier-award winning comedy about Sid James and the late Barbara Windsor, ‘Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle and Dick’ also waiting in the wings, as well as a new show for families and younger audiences and even a proposal to bring the Lost in Translation Circus to Southwold.

All shows will be presented following guidance on safety for audiences, performers and staff.

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In only the first five days, The CrowdFunder has raised nearly £3,000 of the £6,000 needed to help save the 2021 season.

“We have been so proud of how Southwold has come together so far to help fund the season this year.” Matthew said.

Jeremy Cobb as Henstridge in All 4 One, a previous production by Theatre on the Coast

Jeremy Cobb as Henstridge in All 4 One, a previous production by Theatre on the Coast - Credit: David Hermon

“The numbers of people who have already contributed sends a clear message about how hungry audiences are for the return of live performance, back on stage in the theatres that they know and love.

“The future success of Theatre on the Coast is a key component in the future of the Southwold Arts Centre, so it’s doubly important that we raise these funds."

To donate to the CrowdFunder, visit: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/theatre-on-the-coast-2021. To find out more about Theatre on the Coast, visit: https://mtproductions.co.uk/theatre-on-the-coast/

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