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Hammersmith Lyric theatre smashes its £50k fundraising target

Categoriesnews Arts and parksnews

Image captionImage 1: Rehearsal photo of the Cinderella cast preparing for the 2019 annual Lyric panto

Hammersmith’s Lyric has exceeded the target set for its community crowdfunding campaign thanks to a generous donation from its next-door neighbour.

A £30,000 gift from neighbouring shopping centre Kings Mall – currently undergoing a major renovation – will help ensure the survival of the theatre complex in Lyric Square, closed at present because of the pandemic.

Mario Barros of new shopping mall owner Ingka Centres said: “We’re delighted to be able to support the Lyric, and help the team continue to offer world-class entertainment and provide opportunities for the people of Hammersmith.”

The Lyric theatre is also financially supported by Hammersmith & Fulham Council.

Watch one of the Lyric’s recent crowdfunder appeal videos from executive director, Sian Alexander and artistic director Rachel O'Riordan.

  • Transcript of video

    Rachel: This year we celebrated our 125th year birthday at the same time as having to close due to Covid. We're facing one of the biggest challenges in our history and we need your help.

    Sian: The Lyric is a charity and we rely on ticket sales bar sales events hires and classes for 75 per cent of our income. Being closed for more than six months has had a massive financial impact.

    Rachel: Our safety curtain is down and the stalls are empty. But we can see this theatre full again with your help.

    Sian: Please help us raise £50,000 by donating through our crowdfunder and for every donation there's a unique Lyric gift to thank you for your support.

    Rachel: Any donation no matter how small will help us survive this critical time and see this theatre full again. We will reopen the Lyric, but only with your help.

    Both: Thank you.

    To donate go to Crowdfunder - Lyric Hammersmith Theatre

Opportunities

Kings Mall is in the process of becoming an Ingka Centres Meeting Place – a destination that will combine shopping, eating, drinking and skills-learning. Ingka Centres is the parent company of IKEA.

“We aim to breathe new life into the area,” said Mr Barros. “The Lyric’s vision and values mirror our own, and we hope this donation will be the start of a long-term partnership that benefits the whole community.”

The theatre, which this year celebrates its 125th birthday, launched the crowdfunder to help weather the COVID-19 lockdown.

Relying heavily on ticket sales, bar takings, events and classes, the enforced closure has threatened its existence.

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Image caption: Image 2: Lyric executive director Sian Alexander

Gratitude

Lyric executive director Sian Alexander expressed her gratitude. “It means we’ve already exceeded our original target of £50,000. The pandemic has had a devastating financial impact and every penny raised will help us reopen.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity and messages of support from our local community at our time of need. Every donation, no matter how small, makes a huge difference.”

Members of the public can still support the theatre via the Lyric Recovery Fund.

The show must go on!

Despite the new lockdown, the Lyric is selling tickets for its 2021 season, which launches in January.

Plays include the dramatised life story of the first Briton of African heritage to vote in a general election, and a show called Heart of Hammersmith, a community production about real-life borough residents.

“We look ahead to the new year,” added Sian Alexander. “We’ve got a long road to go, but these are the first signs of coming back to life!”

Social distancing has reduced the main auditorium’s capacity from 600 to 170 but, when performances resume, local theatregoers can look forward to the return of the Free First Night programme, which has already enabled 100,000 residents to see shows for nothing.

Tickets are now on sale for the new shows (£15-£23). You can also call the box office on 020 8741 6850.

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