YORK’S Joseph Rowntree Theatre has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise thousands of pounds to help secure its future.

The venue has joined the national #SaveOurTheatres campaign - an initiative launched by Theatres Trust to prevent the permanent closure of hundreds of UK theatres.

Joseph Rowntree Theatre was one of the first to sign up for the scheme and has set itself a fundraising target of £10,000.

The theatre already prides itself on being a strong community hub, a venue run for the community, by the community.

Although the theatre has not been able to host any live shows since March, the trustees and volunteers have been working hard behind the scenes on fundraising and events planning.

However, as a result of the closure it is having to spend its savings to keep the theatre going, money originally earmarked to carry out essential repairs.

Dan Shrimpton, chairman of the board of trustees of the theatre, said: “We are in a stronger position than many theatres, however, our income has been affected significantly by the Covid-19 crisis and we are having to divert funds intended for essential repairs to cover the lost income.

“The crowdfunder campaign is to help support the theatre’s finances until it can reopen fully.”

The theatre’s crowdfunding page is live at https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/josephrowntreetheatre

There are various levels of donation with specified rewards at each level, ranging from a certificate of thanks to a champagne afternoon tea, with tote bags, theatre teddy bears and seat sponsorship also on offer. The comments by supporters already on the page show the high level of esteem in which the venue is held.

The national crowdfunding campaign is backed by high-profile individuals such as Jude Law, who is a Theatres Trust ambassador.

The Joseph Rowntree Theatre was built by the Joseph Rowntree Village Trustees as a place for recreation and education for the benefit of Rowntree employees and the local community. Seebohm Rowntree opened the theatre in 1935. The theatre remains a vital community asset, run entirely by volunteers.