A MEMBERSHIP scheme is being launched by St Helens Theatre Royal in the hope that loyal patrons will support the venue as it continues to feel the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The arts sector has been massively hit by lockdown, with the enforced closure of the performing areas putting the futures of venues across the country at risk.

Last week – after a concerted campaign by leading figures in the industry – the Government pledged emergency funding to a range of sectors including the performing arts and theatres, museums, galleries, live music and independent cinema.

They will be able to access emergency grants and loans.

Like most theatres across the UK, St Helens Theatre Royal was forced to close its doors and curtains more than 100 days ago, with no performances taking place.

This has resulted in no income coming into the venue and sales for forthcoming shows reduced by 95per cent.

Theatre bosses say this has left the venue in a critical situation to continue paying bills out of reserves.

St Helens Star:

According to the Guardian newspaper, the UK’s beleaguered theatres have also warned that panto season could be cancelled, leading to catastrophic losses in revenue, unless the Government is able to reassure people that live performances will continue in the winter.

The annual pantomime season bring in huge annual box office takings and acts as a cash injection to support other productions across the year.

In a statement a St Helens Theatre Royal – which is run by Regal Entertainments’ Chantelle Nolan and Jane Joseph – said the support of its "loyal attenders is paramount in helping the venue fight to survive during these dark months".

The owners say at this point they are not receiving funding from any government bodies.

St Helens Theatre Royal manager, Chantelle Nolan said: “These are very difficult times not only for St Helens Theatre Royal but for the industry as a whole.

"We have always talked about launching a membership scheme for the theatre as now is the perfect time. 

St Helens Star: Theatre Royal manager Chantelle Nolan

Chantelle Nolan is asking for support

"We hope that by our loyal attenders supporting their venue and allow us to stay open, we will reward our Royal Family members with some great benefits, not only at the theatre but also across the region.

“We will be back; we will be back stronger than before; we don’t yet know when that will be.

"We will continually monitor the situation regarding coronavirus and follow the advice and guidelines from the Government’s experts and public health agencies.

"The health of our audiences, staff and performers is our top priority. We look forward to welcoming everyone back to the theatre when we are able.”

The Government says its emergency funding, which represents the biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture, will provide a lifeline to vital cultural and heritage organisations across the country hit hard by the pandemic, helping them stay afloat while their doors are closed.

But bosses at the Corporation Street venue believe local support is vital and so they have launched the ‘St Helens Royal Family Membership’ will receive a whole host of exclusive benefits when attending the theatre.

The scheme is an annual membership, costing £35 per year. If you join in 2020, then the membership is valid until the end of December 2021.

The membership includes…

•    Special discounts available on Regal Entertainments Family shows throughout the year.
•    Priority booking periods on selected shows.
•    Free Programme for a Regal Production when attending twice a year.
•    10per cent off drinks and confectionery.
•    Free ticket exchange.
•    Season Brochures sent direct to your home.
•    Discounted tickets on other productions around the region.
•    Your name mentioned in the Pantomime programme.
•    Exclusive local restaurant/business offers.
•    A membership card and pack
Become a Royal Family Member by visiting sthelenstheatreroyal.com/membership. 
What other ways can you help and support St Helens Theatre Royal?
•    Buy a theatre membership.
•    Buy gift vouchers.
•    Look ahead and book for future performances.
•    If your production has been rescheduled, move your tickets rather than request a refund.
•    Donate to the theatre rather than refund on cancelled shows.