A crowdfunded pilot scheme supported by Academy Award winner Jude Law to offer free theatre tickets to children is seeking further funding to extend the project.
The Albany Theatre Trip for Every Child campaign that has provided over 3,500 Lewisham children with free theatre tickets is due to end this month.
The two-year-old scheme, which is run by the Deptford-based theatre, The Albany, has received support from over 35 local businesses and more than 300 individuals. The scheme has already raised £35,000, allowing hundreds of five-year-old children to enjoy live performances for free.
Two-time Academy Award nominee Jude Law and actress Noma Dumezweni, a Lewisham resident famously known for portraying Hermione Granger in Broadway’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, are leading patrons for the scheme.
Law has described it as “terrific” and highlighted its “potential to positively impact the lives of young children in Lewisham”.
Dumezweni told The Albany: “It’s so important that these children are invited into the theatre with open arms so they know, beyond a doubt, that they are welcome in the theatre and that theatre is for them.”
Cassie Raine, Campaign Manager of The Albany, told ELL: “With the continued support of local individuals and businesses, the scheme can be sustained so the plan is to keep running Every Child beyond the pilot.”
Raine believes that the simplicity of the campaign has made it successful as it provides “a clear and tangible opportunity” for local businesses and individuals to invest in their community.
She said taking the scheme up to a national level was not their current priority at present as they were focused on raising more funds to prolong the project.
A celebratory event, Every Child Week, will be held in April and the theatre will invite Lewisham children to attend Uchenna Dance’s retelling of Hansel and Gretel.
Tina Cavendish, a teacher at Brindishe Green Primary School in Hither Green whose class attended The Albany’s Pinocchio in December, told This Is Local London: “The children have been talking about it endlessly and it created such excitement.”
“Many children have described their visits to the Albany as “brilliant”, “wonderful” and “better than the chocolate pancakes I had for breakfast!”
Raine said: “What we’re doing is a crucial part of a child’s development.
“We’re planting a seed that is going to help them to gain the confidence and interest in taking part in arts and cultural activities throughout their lives.”
“Vital investment in the future of Lewisham’s youth and ultimately contributes to the creative future of the entire borough.”
A single donation of £10 provides a child one ticket for their first visit to The Albany.
To make a donation, visit The Albany’s website.