Female creatives launch campaign to buy theatre
By Sophie Graci
A group of female creatives are crowdfunding to buy the West End’s Theatre Royal Haymarket in order to encourage and support female-led work.
The collective, Bossy, was founded in 2016 by Jonna Blode Hanno and Laura Thomasina Haynes to provide a forum for women in film, theatre, and the performing arts and has over 13,000 members on its Facebook group. Recently, the group has become a supportive online space for positivity and empowerment in the wake of campaigns such as #metoo and #timesup. Now, the group is launching their own campaign: #bossybuyout.
It was announced this week that the 68-year lease for the Theatre Royal Haymarket, London’s third oldest playhouse, is to go on sale. The theatre has been owned and run by three generations of the same family since the early 1970s. The freehold of the theatre is owned by the Crown Estate with Louis I Michaels Limited’s subsidiary Theatre Royal Haymarket Limited holding the lease. Arnold Crook, the chairman of LIM has said of the sale, “it is now time to hand over the reins to the next generation of dream-makers.”
The campaign to buy the theatre on behalf of Bossy began life as a Facebook post discussing the news of the sale. The crowdfunding page itself was started by group member Natalie Durkin, who says, “I put out a jokey question to see if anyone would be interested in crowdfunding, but the support was immense and I thought, why not?”
The aim of the GoFundMe is to raise £3M, and whilst the asking price for the theatre is currently unknown, within 22 hours the group had already raised nearly £3000. If unsuccessful in raising sufficient funds the money will go towards a female arts festival in London, with theatres already offering space for this event.
Read more about the GoFundMe campaign here.