Ilford musical to plug theatre funding gap

Performers and musicians who started their careers at the Kenneth More Theatre will return next month to put on a fundraising show aimed at plugging the cash hole left by the reduction of a council grant.

More than 100 people will stage a concert version of musical Nine to help raise vital cash to keep the theatre in Oakfield Road running after its 2011/12 grant from Redbridge Council was cut by �20,000.

The event on September 10, which will include two performances of the production, has been organised by theatre manager Steven Day.

He said: “No events of this size or scale have ever been attempted here and every penny raised is important.

“We have 358 seats and if we sell out we will make a hefty sum of money which will all be ploughed back into the theatre, thanks to the professionals who are coming back to help me out for a day.

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“It will enable us to keep it going by paying for advertising and a bit of everything really.

“It’s really important that everyone comes out and supports this event if they want their theatre to keep going.”

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Mr Day explained he has been trying to keep morale up among members of staff despite the uncertain future.

He said: “It’s one of those things where people think the worst, but we have to be positive about everything. There is so much we can do.”

He added: “All the shows are still selling and we are booked up until next year.”

Theatre supporter Cedric Lander, who is putting together the programme for the event and looking for sponsorship, said: “The talent on show at this theatre is the finest in the country. I’ve been going here for 40 years and I’ve had many pleasurable nights here. If people want a theatre in Ilford they need to buy tickets for this musical which is rarely produced in this country.”

•Tickets cost �20 and can be ordered by calling 020 8553 4466.

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