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Theatregoer leaves £40k legacy to Yorkshire venue to fund youth programme

Actors from the Georgian Theatre Royal's youth theatre will perform at Edinburgh next year
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A theatre fan’s legacy will enable young actors from the Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond, North Yorkshire, to perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for the first time.

Theatre-lover Brian Tennant left a quarter of his estate – more than £40,000 – to the playhouse after he died last year.

The theatre has announced that the money will go towards funding actors from its youth theatre to perform at the fringe, with the plan to make this a yearly occurrence.

Tennant, who was 72 when he died, attended more than 100 theatre shows every year and was a regular visitor to the Georgian Theatre Royal.

Marketing officer Helga Pearson said: “It is very touching to realise you are such a big part of somebody’s life.

“He came to so many of our shows, and there was a special seat he liked to be in. When he left us the legacy, it was a question of how we could use that to fulfil what he would have wanted.”

Chief executive and theatre manager Clare Allen added: “Everybody knew him, and we were always happy to take him backstage. He was a lovely man.

“The fact that the trip is being fully funded enables everyone to have the opportunity to put themselves forward, which we feel is very important.”

Ten children from the youth theatre, which is run by Aimee Shields, will visit the fringe to perform This Is Yorkshire, written by Shields, from August 21 to 24, 2018.

Many other children from the youth theatre, which is made up of 110 young people aged six to 18, will also contribute to rehearsing, producing and marketing the show.

Shields said: “This gives them something to aspire to. I am hoping to take them like a professional company, they will be treated like professionals and given the same amount of opportunities as adult performers.”