With uncertainty about exactly when it will reopen, but a determination to do so with a creative offering that reflects the new realities of life after lockdown, the Eastgate Theatre has launched a campaign that will enable it to continue contributing to the lives of people of all ages and interests across Tweeddale and beyond.
“We look forward to the day when this wonderful old building can reopen its doors as an exciting, safe, community space where local residents, friends and visitors will meet, take part in well-distanced creative activities and, eventually, enjoy the thrill of live performances in the theatre,” commented Caroline Adam, General Manager.
However, reaching that point will be a considerable challenge given that more than 70% of the Eastgate’s funding comes from members of the public making use of the theatre, studio and café every day of the week.
“With the theatre doors closed for three months in 2019 during refurbishment and closed again this year due to coronavirus, this earned income has fallen dramatically, and the Eastgate no longer has reserves to draw on,” explained Caroline.
“It’s difficult to ask for more support given the fantastic response to our fundraising for the refurbishment last year, but this is an unprecedented situation. We will simply not be able to open our doors again without significant financial help.”
The Eastgate has therefore launched its Open Doors fundraising campaign on the JustGiving website to build up funds that will help it adapt the building to cope with physical distancing and other safety measures, create new digital options for people wanting to join in activities without leaving their own home, plus develop digital output for audiences that will fill the gap before live performances can resume later in the year.
The Open Doors campaign builds on an earlier fundraising drive – launched by Friends of Eastgate when the building closed – which has already contributed a significant amount to help cover the continuing costs during the closure.
“At a time when every family has its own worries and concerns about the future, we have been overwhelmed by the donations that people have made to help us,” commented Ann Edmonds, Treasurer of the Friends.
Over the summer, the Friends will continue to play an important role within the Open Doors campaign by initiating #eastgateathome – an entertaining series of short videos featuring a variety of local people who regard the theatre as an integral part of their daily lives.
The series will air through the Eastgate website and on the Friends’ YouTube channel starting in June, and viewers will be encouraged to show their appreciation by donating to the Open Doors campaign.
“The theatre provides a hub not only for the arts but also every imaginable activity locally,” commented Catriona Lyon, Chair of the Friends. “As well as aiming to provide fantastic entertainment ahead of the theatre reopening, these short videos will really reinforce how deeply people care about the Eastgate. We just cannot afford to lose it.”
For more information, and to donate to the Eastgate’s Open Doors campaign, visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/Eastgatetheatreopendoors