'We still aim to launch comedy festival' says Harrogate Theatre
As it fights for its own future, Harrogate Theatre has been boosted by support from a headline sponsor for the 12th annual Harrogate Comedy Festival.
And, despite facing an uncertain future, Harrogate's much-loved Victorian venue is still cautiously planning for the launch of the two-week event in late autumn.
Bolstered by the new sponsorship from Leeds-based VetDentist.co.uk , the theatre says it is hopeful the popular annual event will go ahead in October - if progress on tackling coronavirus allows it.
Among the comedy stars scheduled to appear are Bridget Christie, Kae Kurd, Tez Ilyas, Jason Byrne, Jimeoin and Jimmy Carr.
Already sold out are Jason Manford and Jon Richardson.
Rachel Auty, Head of Communications at Harrogate Theatre said:
“As an independent arts charity, we are incredibly grateful for this generous gesture by VetDentist.co.uk at such a challenging time.
"As soon as we closed the doors we also launched an Emergency Appeal in order to generate urgent funds to help us survive.
"This partnership with VetDentist.co.uk will make a huge difference, and we look forward to working with Bob over the coming months and hopefully well into the future.
"Harrogate Theatre is a centrepiece of Harrogate’s heritage, part of what makes Harrogate a wonderful place to live and brings great joy to large numbers of residents as well as helping to attract visitors from farther afield."
Harrogate Theatre Emergency Appeal: progress so far
The current government-enforced lockdown to help control the spread of COVID-19 and to ease the pressure on the NHS is inevitably causing great difficulties for most local businesses.
But Harrogate Theatre is particularly vulnerable as it relies mostly on ticket sales alongside grants and donations for its very existence.
With it building closed and all shows cancelled until May 1 at least, the theatre decided last week to launch a public fundraising appeal via its website www.harrogatetheatre.co.uk
Already nearly £10,000 has been donated via new White Rose memberships, generous one-off donations, and ticket money kindly donated following show cancellations.
The new sponsorship could not have come at a better time for Harrogate Theatre.
Harrogate Comedy Festival - which is set to run from Mon 5 - Sat 17 October 2020 - has become an institution for the town, putting Harrogate firmly on the comedy map as ‘Comedy Capital of the North’.
Bob Partridge, owner of VetDentist.co.uk and a specialist in veterinary dentistry, said: "We must support our local businesses to keep them going. We are delighted to support Harrogate Theatre’s Comedy Festival – let’s face it, we are all going to need a good night out or two when this is all over!
“I have lived and worked in Harrogate as a Veterinary Surgeon for more than 30 years.
"It has been a delight to help my loyal clients and their pets in illness and health. In these uncertain times those of us who can, have a duty to support our local businesses and cultural icons.
"It is essential that we help them to survive the current storm – in order that we can benefit from them in the future.
"We need to help ensure that future generations can experience the joy of living in the Harrogate we love."
About Harrogate Theatre
Located on Oxford Street in central Harrogate, Harrogate Theatre has sat at the heart of the towns culture and community for 120 years.
The team brings more than 150 shows a year to Harrogate’s main stages, runs an extensive education programme, and supports artists in the creation of their own work and career development.
The local economic impact of the work done by Harrogate Theatre is estimated at £17 million each year.
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