London’s Jermyn Street Theatre has been saved from closure thanks to audience donations and an emergency grant from Arts Council England.
The fringe theatre praised supporters for rescuing it from “immediate and permanent closure”.
Two months after it shut its doors – along with all UK theatres – Jermyn Street Theatre said it is now able to keep its core team working towards reopening when restrictions lift.
The theatre had said it was facing financial ruin as a result of the combined impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and a flooding incident last month, which caused extensive damage to its central London premises.
A public fundraising appeal surpassed its £20,000 target – and currently stands at £21,700 – while Arts Council England awarded the venue £30,000 from its emergency relief fund to go towards its core costs.
Jermyn Street artistic director Tom Littler said: “We’re deeply grateful to Arts Council England for its faith in our theatre. It has come at a critical moment. Our audience’s generosity rescued us from immediate and permanent closure. This new support means we can retain our core team to entertain our isolated audience, bring our freelance family together, and raise the essential funds we need to reopen.
“We have a long way to go, but the support of the theatrical community and the generosity of our audience means we can look forward to a bright future.”
While closed, the theatre is hosting a programme of online activity, including releasing daily performances of Shakespeare sonnets.
It has now also announced a new set of online initiatives, including plans for a full-scale online production of The Wind in the Willows in collaboration with the Watermill Theatre and Guildford Shakespeare Company.
It is a revival of Littler’s 2015 production of the play, which has been reimagined by adaptor Ant Stones for interactive online viewing. The ticketed production runs online from June 4 to 7.
The theatre is also calling on members of the public to submit short plays as part of its community project My Tiny Play, and it will stage a rehearsed reading of Tony Cox’s The Skin Game, starring Rachel Pickup, Ian Hallard, Skye Hallam and George Smale.