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Art raffle raises £2,500 for struggling Astor Theatre followed by signed book draw including Deborah Moggach’s Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

A weekly raffle of original art has raised £2,500 for a historic theatre that continues to struggle to stay afloat through the pandemic.

Penny Harvey's The Great Astor Art Rafflefinishes tomorrow (Friday) and features the chance to win two handmade cushions from Take a Seat, based at the Village community Market in Sondes Road.

Winners of the Great Art Raffle get to choose two of these handmade cushions by Take a Seat based at the Village community Market in Sondes Road, Deal in aid of the town's Astor Theatre
Winners of the Great Art Raffle get to choose two of these handmade cushions by Take a Seat based at the Village community Market in Sondes Road, Deal in aid of the town's Astor Theatre

The fundraiser involved a prize draw being made each Friday with work supplied by esteemed artists such as: painters Penny Bearman, Neil Horenz-Kelly (Ned), photographer Richard Taylor-Jones and lithograph artist Liza Harding, among many others.

Ms Harvey, a long running user of the the theatre through her kids drama group Stagecatz, has thanked all those who contributesd a piece and those who have bought raffle tickets at £5 a go.

Their support is helping the Edwardian Astor Theatre battle its way through financial hardship caused by lockdown and the social distancing regulations which prevent it running as usual.

As of November 1, all staff will have been made redundant including the community interest company's creative director James Tillitt.

The most recent blow was a knockback from the government's Cultural Recovery Fund to which Mr Tillitt had applied for a grant that would have allowed him to keep staff on.

Penny Bearman was the first artist to donate a painting for the Great Art Raffle in aid of the Astor Theatre
Penny Bearman was the first artist to donate a painting for the Great Art Raffle in aid of the Astor Theatre

Money raised through Supporters is being used to pay overheads at the venue in Stanhope Road.

They have raised thousands to attempt to cover those costs including through an ongoing Go Fund Me campaign which has collected more than £18,000.

Ms Harvey is now launching the Great Book Raffle to replace her virtual art sale.

She said: "Author and playwright Nick Dear kindly organised a selection of signed books from lots of local authors to raffle for the theatre.

"The first week we have a signed copy of Deborah Moggach’s Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Simon Booker’s Without Trace."

Deborah Moggach's signed edition of the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is to be raffled for £5 a ticket for The Astor Theatre's survival fund (42915559)
Deborah Moggach's signed edition of the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is to be raffled for £5 a ticket for The Astor Theatre's survival fund (42915559)

You can find up which book is in the draw each week and buy tickets via her facebook page - The Great Art Raffle -Astor Community Theatre.

Tickets cost £5.

To donate to the Astor Theatre's Survival Fund, click here

Tickets for tomorrow's textile draw are available from the Seaward Gallery in Broad Street and by clicking here .

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