First Achates Philanthropy Prize won by Theatre Royal Stratford East donors

Nigel Farnall and Angelica Puscasu, winners of the 2016 Achates Philanthropy Prize for supporting Theatre Royal Stratford East
Nigel Farnall and Angelica Puscasu, winners of the 2016 Achates Philanthropy Prize for supporting Theatre Royal Stratford East
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A couple from Essex have won a philanthropy prize for their support of the Theatre Royal Stratford East.

Nigel Farnall and Angelica Puscasu were presented with the first annual Achates Philanthropy Prize for their donations totalling £3,000 – winning a further £5,000 contribution to the theatre from award organiser Achates.

Theatre Royal Stratford East said the prize money would go towards workshops for teenagers that build confidence through drama.

Accepting the award at the Spektrix conference in London, Farnall and Puscasu – who had never donated money to an arts organisation before the Theatre Royal – said the theatre was “such a warm and special place”.

The pair first attended the theatre in 2012 after Farnall received promotional material for the theatre with his London 2012 Olympics tickets – and became regular visitors.

They said: “We’d never thought of ourselves as philanthropists, we just wanted to support an organisation we’ve become passionate about. We hope this award will show how important it is for people who care about their local cultural organisation to support it.”

Theatre Royal Stratford East director of development Sal Goldsmith said the support of individuals was a “vital cornerstone” to the theatre’s work.

“Nigel and Angelica’s support means a huge amount to us because they represent a new type of philanthropist and we hope they will inspire others to give too,” she said.

Achates launched the prize as a way of encouraging first-time arts philanthropists “at all levels” of giving.

Founder Caroline McCormick said choosing a single winner for the award was “extremely challenging”, but added: “Ultimately we were all inspired by Nigel and Angelica’s support of Theatre Royal Stratford East and the journey they made from being non arts attenders, to committed audience members who never miss an event.”

Others nominated for the award included philanthropists to Northern Ballet and Theatre503.

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