Developer Barratt Homes has donated £1,000 to Hyde Festival Theatre to support volunteers making the building safe for re-opening.
The donation comes as part of the homebuilder's Legacy scheme, which aims to support local charities and organisations in areas in which it builds.
Built in 1903, the 232-seat theatre in the town centre has unfortunately been closed to the public for over 12 months and theatre volunteers have been using this time to update and refresh the venue.
Vanessa Rothwell, Committee Member at Hyde Festival Theatre, said: “The arts and cultural sectors have been hard hit by the Covid pandemic, virtually all of the venues income comes from hire of our rehearsal and performance spaces, we have been dark as a venue for over 12 months.”
Fortunately, Hyde Festival Theatre has received two grants from Tameside Council specifically for organisations who are struggling through the pandemic. This allowed staff to carry out works to the building and create an action plan for coming out of the lockdown.
Staff and volunteers are very proud of the building’s heritage and are keen to preserve the building on Corporation Street well into the future, despite its age, as it's a much-loved and welcoming community asset.
Vanessa continued: “We’ve used the time during lockdown wisely to renew the venue with help from our army of volunteers. The money donated from Barratt Homes will be put towards changing the front of house barrier at the back of the auditorium so that we have a safer alternative which will be young person friendly and help enhance the lighting and sound in the venue.
“There are some projects like this one that need professional input and we are very grateful to the developer for funding this.
“The venue is critical to the local community and we are located in a culturally diverse deprivation area. As such, we are incredibly grateful for this donation and the support of others making donations which enable us to ensure that the theatre is available for use and enjoyment for many generations to come.”
Neil Goodwin, Managing Director at Barratt Homes Manchester, said: “We are delighted to have been able to support Hyde Festival Theatre and help with the refurbishment of the building, making it safe and an enhanced experience for all visitors.
“It is with sadness that we saw theatres close over a year ago and we are thrilled to see staff and volunteers planning for the theatre and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
“As a leading developer, we want to lead the way, not only in the quality of the homes that we are building but in the way we support charities and organisations in the areas in which we build, leaving a lasting legacy.”