The chairman of Brighton’s oldest amateur theatre company has skydived 15,000ft to launch a half-a-million-pound fundraising campaign.
The money is needed to modernise the building in Clarence Gardens near Churchill Square.
Felicity Clements jumped out of a plane in the skies over Salisbury strapped to her instructor.
She said: “I’m not usually an adventure sports person so the skydive was a giant leap, so to speak, for me. It was scary and exhilarating at the same time.
“Importantly, it enabled me to raise funds for Brighton Little Theatre’s much-needed building work. The redesign will give us much better facilities for our audiences and members and help guarantee Brighton Little Theatre’s future.”
Brighton Little Theatre has been serving the community since 1940. To secure its long-term future the theatre requires a much-needed upgrade.
The rolling restoration, spread over the next ten years, will provide
- Much-improved audience sightlines and more spacious seating in the auditorium
- A larger bar area which would double as a rehearsal space, studio theatre and youth workshop space
- Much-enhanced toilet facilities
- Modern dressing rooms
- Improved lighting and sound facilities
The overall restoration is currently costed at £538,000 and is due to start next year with work on the toilets and the lighting and sound area. The final phase, extending the bar, is expected to get under way in 2027.
Miss Clements said: “The building has seen some changes since 1940, chiefly the opening up of the ground floor and the installation of toilet facilities. That was many years ago.
“It has become increasingly clear that we must upgrade and improve our facilities both for our audiences and for our members and to secure the future of our theatre.”
The company aims to be inclusive and membership of is open to everyone, of all ages and abilities. Annual membership costs only £20 a year and has not gone up for the past decade.
The current adult membership is about 200, with an estimated 4,000 people watching the 12 shows a year produced at the theatre.
The company also stages shows at the Brighton Open Air Theatre (BOAT) and the Minack Open-Air Theatre in Cornwall.
The company’s youth section opened in 2003 and how has some 40 members and a waiting list. A trained drama teacher runs weekly classes at the theatre with the youngsters taking part in two productions a year on the main stage.
Members from both the adult and youth teams have gone on to work in professional theatre and the theatre provides bursaries to help them finance their studies at drama school.
Brighton Little Theatre is a registered charity, self-funded by membership fees, ticket sales and bar takings and does not receive any public money.
Anyone wanting to donate to the fund-raising can find out more about the theatre and the renovation on the Brighton Little Theatre website.