South west London theatres join National Lottery 2-for-1 ticket campaign

This March, hundreds of theatres across the country, including a handful in south west London, are taking part in a National Lottery 2-for-1 ticket campaign.

As a thank you to players for the £30m raised weekly for good causes, the National Lottery and UK Theatre have launched Love Your Local Theatre for the whole of the month, with support from Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh. 

The promotion supports local theatres such as Orange Tree Theatre, Rose Theatre and Richmond Theatre as they start to recover from the impact of covid.

Orange Tree Theatre Development and Communications Director Alex Jones said: “The promotion is something that’s been made available to theatres outside of central London so we are really thrilled to be able to take part. 

“It’s a campaign that’s very much focused on the local – local theatres, local audiences. 

“It’s also a fantastic opportunity for people to get back in touch with their local theatres and see the impact of the funds they’ve contributed towards. It’s exciting.”

During the pandemic, Orange Tree Theatre received support through the Cultural Recovery Fund and the furlough scheme.

This helped them get through a 15 month closure – one unprecedented in their history.

They reopened a few days after theatres were legally able to operate with socially distanced seating, which is still in place now, and have expanded from 50% capacity to 70%. 

Jones stressed that while the West End is doing well as people make the trip into central London for big experiences, it’s important to support local theatres as well.

She said: “There’s a whole ecology out there and the local theatres are hugely important and also a completely different experience. 

“And I think that’s something that we’ve been missing during this time – coming together and experiencing human stories together.”

She shared her hope that the incentive of reduced tickets will not only be a perk for returning visitors, but also attract new theatre-goers.

Jones said: “We have a great, loyal, committed audience, in and around Richmond, and south west London. 

“But there are many more people who could come along, who have yet to try us out.

“So I think this is a really fantastic incentive, because our tickets start quite cheaply anyway, at £15, but this offer means that they’re available from £7.50, which is not something that we could normally offer. 

“So it’s a really fantastic promotion to be able to open up and really tempt people in who maybe haven’t been before.”

Director of Revenue Kristen Gallagher shared a similar hope for the Rose Theatre.

She said: “I think this effort has been really important because it’s about getting people back into their local theatres. 

“We’re hoping that this will entice people, whether they’re first time bookers to the theatre, which would be fantastic, or people who perhaps haven’t been to the Rose in quite a few years or who don’t come in frequently to come along. 

“We’ve been lucky to enjoy a strong return from some of our most loyal supporters, but I think after the pandemic, a huge challenge for the industry is inviting more people to come in. 

“As communities recover from the pandemic, when people get back into shops or out to pubs, cafes and bars, I think it’s important that they don’t forget their local theatre.” 

Gallagher also stressed the importance of arts and culture for people’s mental wellbeing as we collectively recover from the effects of the pandemic. 

She said: “I think the entertainment we provide, whether it’s a sunny comedy show or a moving drama, as The Monster Calls will be, or an entertaining romantic drama, as Persuasion will be. 

“I think getting out and enjoying the arts is really important to people’s well being and the recovery of communities as we come out of the pandemic.”

Sebastian Cheswright Cater, Head of UK Theatre & Workforce Development, shared his hope that the campaign will encourage people back to the theatre for a whole variety of shows – from musicals to plays, dance to stand-up comedy.

He said: “After such a tough time for theatres, innovative approaches are required to encourage audience members to come back and have some wonderful experiences seeing live theatre performances. 

“People from all walks of life play The National Lottery, and we’re hoping that all those people take advantage of this fantastic 2-for-1 offer for certain performances at their local theatre during March.”

He added: “With our ‘See It Safely’ measures in place, there’s never been a better time for audiences to see a live performance at their local theatre.”

The 2-for-1 promotion is available to anyone who plays the National Lottery and has a ticket. 

Members of the public can purchase tickets online now for performances next month. 

Participating Shows:

Orange Tree Theatre: 2 Billion Beats 1- 5 March, Tom Fool 12 – 31 March.

Richmond Theatre: An Hour and a Half Late 1 – 5 March, Cluedo 7 – 12 March, Ellen Kent’s Carmen 14 March, Ellen Kent’s Madame Butterfly 15 March, Crooners 18 March, Fatal Attraction 21 – 16 March, Dracula 27 March

Rose Theatre: Persuasion 1 – 19 March, A Monster Calls 24 – 31 March.

Featured image: Credit to Nick Simpson.

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