28th Jan, 2021

Surprise donation leads to theatre getting an upgrade

A THEATRE in Kenilworth is set to get an upgrade thanks to a surprise donation.

The Priory Theatre group received nearly £1,700 from the Heart of England Co-operative Society.

Members say the money will be used for upgrades ready to welcome back audiences once covid restrictions allow.

The group owns its own building, which was donated to it in the 1940s and has a number of volunteers who help with lighting, designing and building sets, making costumes and front of house duties.

Marketing manager Mike Brooks said: “Last year hit us hard, like it’s hit everyone hard. But in Kenilworth we’re really lucky as although it is a small town there are two great theatre groups – both of which are thriving. This in itself is testament to the people of the town for the constant support they give.”

The Priory theatre group was originally established in Coventry in the 1930s but was moved to Kenilworth by one of the founders who lived in the town. His family owned the building where the theatre stands today – an old chapel built in 1816 – and when the group moved the chapel was transformed from being utilised mainly as a storage facility, into a theatre.

Mike added: “The Priory has 120 seats and we try to put on about seven or eight productions a year, with the aim of tickets being able to pay for the costumes and sets for the next show and – if there is anything leftover – spending it on the upkeep of the building itself.

“We might organise non-theatre related events such as craft events with the aim of bringing more people through our doors and raising a few extra funds, but we never go out actively seeking donations, so to receive such a sizeable sum out of the blue has come as a welcome surprise and we thank the Heart of England Co-operative Society and its customers for their support.”

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