"THE PHOENIX PROJECT” – Please help Playbox Theatre to survive this crisis, so that future generations of young people can find their voice, their skill and their courage within a unique artistic environment, supported by Friends Of Playbox
Playbox has been a creative home and artistic sanctuary for over half a million children and young people, since it opened its doors in 1986. Founded by Mary King, Playbox was always to be a place where young people would be given a powerful artistic voice, as well as creative training across a broad spectrum of arts, and a place where their voices would be heard, where they would be challenged and where they would be able to create theatre, in its many forms, to the highest possible, professional, standards. In 1999, Playbox opened the doors to The Dream Factory – the UK’s first purpose built and designed theatre exclusively for young people, with its many studios, its café, outdoor spaces and beautiful main theatre. At this point, Playbox could offer even greater opportunities to its young people, who would now have an artistic home – a creative powerhouse - to call their own, where the young would retain total ownership, and the directors, technicians, designers and administrators would work to fully support their development as unique individuals, growing up in a world where they should feel confident, articulate, compassionate and where they would become superb creative thinkers.
This company has never received regular funding, but relies totally upon self-supportive finances, including membership fees, café revenue, box office, education programmes and self-help fundraising. It is a very difficult operation to maintain, even under normal circumstances, but passion, determination and an intense belief in our young people as artists has enabled Playbox Theatre to thrive, and to be heralded across the world as a model of excellence for creative work with the young.
However, in March this year, overnight, all income ceased due to coronavirus. Workshops were stopped in their tracks; all productions cancelled for the foreseeable future; our densely packed schedule of education workshops, due to be delivered to many international school groups were cancelled; our café closed, and all other income sources stopped.
All of us at Playbox Theatre are fiercely passionate about the future and long for the time when we can throw open our doors to all members, families and audiences. For 34 years we have given everything to enable many thousands of young people to have a voice, to gain courage, and to explore the world we live in using theatre, circus, film and music within a bespoke theatre complex, that is second-to-none, that is owned by them, and not the ‘youth wing’ of any adult organisation. Playbox has created generations of articulate, tolerant, imaginative creative thinkers and artists, who now thrive across a range of industries.
Playbox’s future survival is now under serious threat. We cannot believe that we face losing this extraordinary company, that remains vital and relevant, not only to the artistic landscape of this country, but to the lives of so many young people today, and those in the generations to come.
We have to find a way to survive.
We have endless plans and creative ideas for our future adventures we are being as inventive, hard-working and positive as we can, to keep Playbox’s heart beating during this difficult time, but we desperately need help as we grapple with the immediate situation, and try to survive the devastating financial blow that we have received. In order to maintain our home, The Dream Factory, and to continue our creative work with young people, we urgently need to generate an additional £50,000.
This money will support the running costs of The Dream Factory and a core team of essential staff; it will enable us to create full online programmes of inspiring, meaningful and creative activities for young people of all ages, while we wait for a time when we can restore a full
programme of ‘live’ activities; it will help us to develop our outdoor spaces so that we can provide safe and welcoming facilities for our visitors when they are able to come back, and – most importantly – it will provide the foundation for a positive and vibrant return to serving young people for generations to come. It will enable Playbox Theatre to survive.
With your help, the future can, and will, be bright for Playbox Theatre.
Thank you for reading this, and for your support. No donation is too small, or too large.