Published: 14:00, 29 October 2020
| Updated: 14:02, 29 October 2020
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.
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.
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."
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 .