Storyhouse has today announced the launch of its New Story Campaign, a new fundraising appeal with the aim of ensuring that Chester’s iconic cultural centre bounces back from the economic impact of Covid-19.
The charity welcomes over a million visitors a year and earns over three-quarters of its annual income from trading, now made impossible since closing its doors on 16 March. It costs the organisation over £200k a month to keep its building and community programme open. Supporters are being invited to show their support in a number of ways, through becoming a member, by making a donation and by volunteering in the building when it re-opens – currently expected to be July.
The new membership programme is launched today as part of the campaign. The innovative scheme offers a streaming membership with – uniquely for UK theatres – no ongoing commitment. The scheme costs £4 a month and offers discounts on all tickets, food and drink as well as priority booking and no booking fees.
CEO Andrew Bentley thinks is a great deal for supporters “The new Storyhouse Card is a brilliant way to support us – we may not have a lot on sale right now – that won’t last long – but this programme will help us build a huge community of members and is one of the most effective ways to help us during this tricky time. We’re also launching a monthly donation scheme for those that simply want to gift-aid their contribution to us.
“We are one of over 500 registered charities that run theatres. Two thirds of them expect to be out of business by Christmas. It’s easy to see why. – putting theatre on a stage right now is impossible. That’s not going to be our future – we are resilient, we’ll come back stronger. We can do with the support of our beloved customers and friends.
We’ll be able to announce soon if we will be allowed to run outdoor events this summer – and if we can, we will do our best to put on shows we know our customers will love”
Storyhouse has moved a huge amount of its work online offering support to local communities to help them connect, including quarantine karaoke, den-building workshops, dance classes and regular storytelling, as well as archives of family stories and family workshops. Many of Storyhouse’s regular community sessions are also now operating online or via phone, including “chatter and natter” which combats loneliness and was recently featured on BBC4’s Woman’s Hour.
Full details can be found at storyhouse.com/newstorycampaign