Use it or lose it plea from Windsor's Theatre Royal

Use it or lose it plea from Windsor's Theatre Royal

Lucy Elder

Use it or lose it plea from Windsor's Theatre Royal

Use it, or face losing it, is the call made by the Theatre Royal this week following a drop in ticket sales.

The venue in Thames Street, owned by leading theatre producer Bill Kenwright, is encouraging people to come and see what it has to offer after experiencing a decline in audience numbers over the past year.

A letter from Mr Kenwright to theatregoers has been published in the latest brochure, which came out this week.

In it he wrote: "I love Theatre Royal Windsor. It's a wonderful building, full of character, in a great location, and steeped in history."

But he added: "It cannot survive without you."

The theatre receives no arts council grants, no council funding and is not part of a conglomerate organisation, meaning the only subsidy is provided by Mr Kenwright, who is also chairman of Everton FC.

It has operated in its current building since 1910, but there has been a theatre on the site since the 1700s.

"We have got this wonderful, core audience who come to nearly everything and they are brilliant. But there is not enough of them," said general manager Siân Wiggins.

"If we don't sell seats, we don't have enough money to pay the wages bill at the end of the week, and it is being subsidised by Bill."

She added the wages bill will always be paid, but is subsidised by Mr Kenwright as opposed to coming from profit, and the theatre, which costs thousands of pounds a week to run, is not taking enough money to make money.

Marketing manager Louise Frankton said it is not just the Theatre Royal feeling the pinch, but explained the 'vast majority' of other theatres have funding to help them through the tough times.

To pull more visitors in, the 633-seat theatre, which has counted the Queen and other royals among its audience members in the past, has invested in a new coffee shop with free WiFi, established a new members scheme and changed its pricing policy so there are no additional booking fees.

"No one wants the theatre to close and I mean Bill especially," said Siân.

"He loves it, he absolutely passionately loves this theatre, as do I, as do we all who are here."

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