Play Your Part

November 8, 2023| News + Events, Current Issue

A capital campaign to transform Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud into a cultural community hub with theatre at its core.

(L to R) Stephen Bampfylde, (Chair of the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre), Joanna Read (Director & Chief Executive), with actors Timothy West, Susan Jameson and James Bolam.

The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre staged the launch event for their Play Your Part campaign this September.

The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre staged the launch event for their Play Your Part campaign this September. The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre is a registered charity and the only producing venue in Surrey. A regional theatre with a national reach and a mission is to produce and present vibrant, outstanding, entertaining drama for the communities of Surrey and the South East.

An artistic resource and a safe space for many communities to participate in the thrill and delight of live theatre and arts activities, they enable people of all ages to come together; realising stronger, more meaningful, social relationships to build prosperous and cohesive communities.

The theatre is there for everyone, whether they choose to see a play, take part in a workshop, or event, or meet a friend for coffee. The building and its cultural output enable people of all ages from across Surrey to come together.

Their Play Your Part will transform the theatre and develop this iconic and much-loved building as a cultural community hub with theatre at its core. Radically improving accessibility and creating new multi-purpose spaces for wider community and artistic benefit; ensuring it is able to meet the needs of the communities of Surrey for the next 50 years.

The project will:

  • Improve accessibility throughout the front of house areas including the provision of a lift to all floors and new accessible toilets.
  • Create a multipurpose accessible community room for engagement activities, events, rehearsals and workshops.
  • Remodel our public spaces to make them fit-for-purpose to meet the growing demand for these areas.
  • Improve our environmental sustainability by replacing outdated electrical and mechanical services with energy-efficient alternative.

In June of this year the theatre was delighted to receive £3m from Surrey County Council’s Your Fund Surrey. The theatre thanked the thousands of people who took the time to write in, make comments and like its application on the Your Fund Surrey website, contacted their Surrey County Council representatives and generally supported the theatre in showing how vital it is to the county, in so many ways.

With the generous support of Your Fund Surrey added to the £1.2m they have raised to date, the theatre still need to generate a further £1.6m in order to complete the planned works.

Launch Event

The next stage of the campaign was launched on Wednesday 27th September where they hosted long-standing friends of the theatre for an updated presentation and fund-raising appeal. Around 80 close supporters of the theatre attended the celebration, to learn about the next steps for the campaign, to view a new video outlining future plans, and to hear from the theatre team and campaign donors.