A PRESTIGIOUS theatre has thanked it supporters after an emergency appeal raised more than £50,000 to keep it going.

Malvern Theatres is delighted to announce that its Covid-19 fundraising appeal has so far raised more than £50,000 in donations from its audiences, friends, and supporters.

When the theatre closed its doors in March its income disappeared overnight and its long-term future is in jeopardy without significant financial support.

It hopes to hit the £100,000 mark soon, with every penny being used to cover unavoidable monthly costs, as well as bolster the theatre’s diminishing reserves.

READ MORE: Future of Malvern Theatres in doubt as income is hit by coronavirus

The theatre’s skeleton staff are also busy applying for trust and grant support to help the theatre get through the next few months.

Chief Executive Nic Lloyd said: “We have been overwhelmed with this show of support. Malvern Theatres is at the heart of our community and we are so delighted that so many have come forward to help us in our hour of need.

“We work hard to provide entertainment 364 days of the year, not to mention our weekly classes for people of all ages and abilities, and we know that the loss of the theatre would be devastating for everyone in the town, including the many businesses who rely on us for customers.

“Thank you to everyone who has donated so far, including the many people who have set up monthly direct debits. If you’ve yet to contribute, please consider doing so today. Every single penny we raise over the next six months will make a vital difference to our future.”

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After the theatre announced its future was under threat, Eastenders star Shane Ritchie urged the public to step in and help the iconic venue.

He said: "Malvern Theatres is known to actors for its reputation for attracting the biggest names and the finest drama productions. When being offered a tour this is one of the theatres I request to be added should it not be in the schedule. It usually is though.

"The theatre is more diverse than at any time in its history and it is known for building its audience numbers year-on-year owing to the variety and quality of the many varied productions that it stages. This dreadful coronavirus has shut the world down, especially the world of entertainment.

"I, like many, can’t see a UK tour without Malvern, and I send my sincere best wishes to all concerned and look forward to a return."

To donate, go to: malvern-theatres.co.uk/support