OUTSIDE EDGE / The good burghers of Hammersmith
Friday 18 February 1994
Three years ago the council was rate-capped and the cuts were passed on to the Lyric; it built up large debts and will close on 1 April unless pounds 350,000 is raised.
The theatre has a history of support in high places but hope, this time, comes from the ground. There is enormous local support for the theatre, and people who have never given the local arts programme their full attention before are now genuinely concerned.
A local business forum has been created to support the theatre financially ('For a recent performance of Blood Wedding the local businesses' support enabled us to offer tickets at one-quarter of the normal price to local schools,' purrs Sue Storr, general manager of the Lyric) and to publicise the theatre's plight.
Shopkeepers and local people came out in force last Saturday, rattling buckets until they had collected pounds 9,000. Even the smallest shops are doing what they can. True to the spirit of the campaign, Macs Cameras, opposite the theatre, has supplied cameras and equipment free of charge for all the fund-raising events.
Local people have a lot to lose (no subsidised theatre in Hammersmith means no schools programmes, no Theatre in Education, no grass-roots venue where budding actors can learn their craft) and the whole community has rallied round. Loth to be outdone by the shopkeepers, the police turned out in uniformed force for a recent performance by the Cardboard Citizens company of an interactive play about homelessness by the homeless. Even Hammersmith and Fulham Council, not normally noted for its charity, has co-operated with the fund-raisers, allowing 'highwaymen' to collect from hapless motorists stuck in traffic on the Hammersmith Bridge.
The big money, of course, will come from those with more clout. The embattled theatre has never had any trouble attracting the stars (a typical Lyric cast-list is as impressive as any in the West End) and this Sunday the likes of Stephen Fry, Ruby Wax, Griff Rhys Jones, Maureen Lipman and Eddie Izzard will star in Alive and Kicking, a benefit cabaret at the London Palladium. Still pounds 220,000 away from their fund-raising target, the people of Hammersmith will be keeping a keen eye on the box-office.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Australia to impose 24-hour curfew on all cats to protect endangered species
- 2 Model's video shoot on the beach interrupted by sudden landing of a group of illegal migrants
- 3 The difference between a psychopath and a sociopath
- 4 MH370: Boeing 777 wing that could match missing plane found on the French island of Reunion
- 5 'Killer robots' with AI must be banned, urge Stephen Hawking, Noam Chomsky and thousands of others in open letter
Frank Ocean, where's that new album at?
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk
Jesse Pinkman's meth den house from Breaking Bad is yours for $1.6 million
Top Gear: Jenson Button reportedly joining Chris Evans as replacement host
R Kelly's Ignition (Remix) is the most nostalgic song going, according to Spotify
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
I am the Jeremy Corbyn supporter that many will tell you doesn't exist
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
Labour leadership contest: I would never quit the party, says Liz Kendall