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Issue 324 – Merlin will fight for survival

FROME’S Merlin Theatre is launching a fundraising campaign as it fights for survival. The popular theatre is reeling from the news that its bid to be part of the Art Council’s national funding portfolio has been unsuccessful.

The bid was rejected partly as the theatre was viewed as financially insecure due to the 100% local authority arts cuts in Somerset. The only funding for 2012 that the theatre will receive is £3,000 from Frome Town Council.
Director of the Merlin Theatre, Claudia Pepler said, “We are devastated by the unsuccessful bid but our fight for survival starts now; we will be launching a fundraising campaign with immediate effect.
“We need local philanthropists to step up now to help keep Frome’s cultural life vibrant. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our volunteers, audience members and participants; we will need your support more than ever in the challenging year ahead.
“We urge the community to keep using the theatre, and keep buying tickets. We will fight to survive and need our supporters behind us.”
How to Help

“Many people have asked how they can help the theatre. The first thing is to keep coming and buying tickets, we still have a great programme of events planned with the exciting summer season about to be launched,” said Claudia. “Our doors are very much open and that is the way I intend for us to stay! “
“We have set up an online giving account, details can be found on the website, and we have also introduced a ticket levy. In future when buying a ticket you will have the option to donate £1 per ticket.
“A fundraising committee has been set up to organise and coordinate events. Many people have already proposed sponsored events and we are looking at exciting fundraising performances.”
Claudia also urges local businesses when considering a charity to adopt, to consider the Merlin. “People do not automatically think of the Merlin as a charity, but unfortunately now we have lost funding we will need the support of the local business community more than ever to ensure that this wonderful community asset survives, enabling future generations to be inspired and enjoy the arts.”
The Merlin has a list of exciting events coming up over the next couple of months. These include:
16th April, 7.45pm; Arthur Smith Exposed. Join comedian, writer, broadcaster and all-round British institution Arthur Smith and bask in an evening of laughter and off the wall humour with one of the ‘alternative comedians’ who shook up the world of light entertainment in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Tickets are £15.
17th April, 5pm; Danceworks’ ‘In the Spotlight’ showcase. Blitz! will see the group’s 55 hard-working 4-17 year old students of ‘In the Spotlight’ make their performance debut at the Merlin. With upbeat and powerful musical numbers, superb choreography and emotional twists, Blitz! promises to be a entertaining piece of children’s theatre that will have you reminiscing on the war years. Tickets are £5, £3 concessions.
4th of June, 7.45pm; Bristol Old Vic Theatre School presents ‘Tom Jones’. A comic masterpiece and a classic in English literature. Sheer fun and bursting with bawdy scenes, it’s a tasty feast from beginning to end. Tickets are £12, £10 concessions. Friends £11, £9 concessions.
For more information visit www.merlintheatre.co.uk or call the box office on 465949.

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