In response to difficulties imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of students at Warwick University’s Drama Society have established a nationwide campaign called Students Saving Our Theatres. Since founding the movement, nineteen other drama societies across Britain (such as University of Leeds’s Stage Musicals Society and Theatre Group, as well as University of West London’s UWL Drama Society) have joined Warwick’s efforts.
This initiative was created to raise money for local theatres suffering due to COVID-19, allowing for the industry to be affected as little as possible. The loss of ticket sales and having to provide furlough pay for staff members, amongst other factors, is hugely impacting local theatres and the industry as a whole, making any fundraising incredibly beneficial.
Lasting five weeks, all of the money raised during this time will be donated to local theatres as selected by respective drama societies across the country. Fundraising events include online scratch nights to showcase students’ writing amid theatre closures, and social media challenges to unite students nationwide in this collaborative effort.
Zoe Callow, the Vice-President of UEA Drama and Musical Theatre Society commented: “The Students Saving Our Theatres campaign is really important to us because it is giving us the chance to take positive action against the challenges and uncertainties the industry is currently facing. It also offers us an opportunity to give back to the local theatre community, whose survival is so important to ensuring everyone has the opportunity to benefit from participation in the arts, as we have at university”
At the time of writing, the initiative has raised over £1,500, with over a month of fundraising still to go.
Words by Sam Hewitson.