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Coronavirus Kent: Astor Theatre's forced closure over Covid-19 prompts community's £7k survival fund

An outpouring of community support has brought £7,000 into a theatre when it's future became endangered by a mandatory Covid-19 closure.

Just last week James Tillitt, creative director of The Astor Theatre in Deal was preparing an anniversary bash to celebrate 10 years since the renovated venue reopened.

Artistic director at the Astor Community Theatre James Tillitt says the community has given the venue "a fighting chance"
Artistic director at the Astor Community Theatre James Tillitt says the community has given the venue "a fighting chance"

But those plans came crashing down on Tuesday after Boris Johnson told the public they should avoid theatres and cinemas to limit the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Today Mr Tillitt said he and his staff have been "overwhelmed" by the community's generous donations which will bridge the income void to pay some of the hemorrhaging costs like bills and wages.

Last Wednesday he launched a £25,000 gofund me campaign which he described as "a vital part of our survival."

The "extraordinary" boost from 152 donors to date gives the Edwardian venue in Stanhope Road a "fighting chance".

Mr Tillitt added: "We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for this incredible reaction of support. Please continue to share the campaign as widely as you can; it’s an essential part of our survival plan.

"We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for this incredible reaction of support"

"We know that not everybody is in a position to donate, and we're also so grateful for the many messages of support and solidarity we've received since we suspended all events and performances last week.

"Some of you may have passed by the building in the last few days and seen some of the notes and messages which were placed on the doors.

"They mean a great deal to us and provide yet more evidence of the incredible spirit of togetherness that exists in our town."

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