Theatre group vows to rise from Battersea Arts Centre ashes after fire destroys production set – in video

A theatre company whose play was destroyed by the Battersea Arts Centre inferno have raised more than £10,000 in a week to help bring their production back to life.

The Gecko Theatre group had the set, costumes, puppets, and all technical equipment for their play Missing destroyed when a blaze tore through the centre’s iconic Grand Hall earlier this month.

A Kickstarter campaign aimed at raising £5,000 to help recover a portion of the monetary costs of the damage reached its target within five hours and has since doubled the initial target to more than £10,000.

Gecko’s performance director, choreographer and performer in Missing, Amit Lahav, was heartbroken to see the venue burn to the ground, but is determined to help the play rise from the ashes.

“It’s staggering – the voices of our artistic community are completely behind us and people have contacted us asking how they can help us,” he said.

“We are incredibly grateful to people for donating to the cause and the kick-starter campaign has been fundamental to getting us back up and running.

“We still have a lot of work to do but we have made a start to bringing Missing back.”

The Missing team are gearing up for the first leg of a world tour which will take them to Mexico, Macau and Hong Kong before returning to British shores in 2016 and 2017.

The funds raised will go some distance in helping the show be rebuilt from scratch.

With Gecko and the Battersea Arts Centre having been in partnership for 14 years Amit hopes to see the bond repaired once the centre and Missing are fully restored to their former glory.

He added: “Everything that we had built up over the years was destroyed.

“In typical Gecko fashion I think there is a growing sense and belief that we were never going to surrender.

“There was no way that we were going to stop fighting for the show and fighting for the performers to perform and make a living.”

More than 50 firefighters were called to tackle the blaze which broke out on the historic Grade II listed building on March 13.

In the space of two days following the fire more than £52,000 had been donated and the centre has agreed to underwrite the cost of rebuilding the Missing set.

Chancellor George Osborne yesterday announced that the centre would receive £1million funding through the Arts Council.

David Jubb, artistic director and CEO of the centre, said: “The way people have responded to this event is quite extraordinary.

“I’d like to thank everyone for their incredible support for Battersea Arts Centre and Battersea’s beautiful former town hall.

“The Battersea spirit, encapsulated in its mid-19th Century motto Not For Me, Not For You, But For Us, is all around.

“And all those who are directly involved have been lifted up by this support – thank-you.”

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