Palmers Brewery have given £1,000 from their charity fund to the Marine Theatre in Lyme Regis to help buy new seating.
Artistic director Harry Long said: ‘We’ve been running this fund-raising campaign for a while and this is by far the largest single donation we’ve had, so it’s very exciting for us and we’re delighted to have it. It means a huge amount to us.
‘Chairs are a very important part of the look of the auditorium, and a large part of the audience experience. We feel that having high quality shows coming to the theatre needs to be matched by the comfort of the experience for the audience.
‘The chairs we’ve got at the moment are very tatty, they really reduce the appeal of the auditorium, they don’t stack properly and they’re very heavy for the volunteers to put out and stack away again. It’s a huge amount of work for the volunteers.’
The theatre is raising funds from local businesses and supporters for new chairs that are more practical but still in tune with the theatre’s 1930s seaside cabaret style. Palmers’ donation will buy approximately 14 chairs, depending on the model chosen.
The theatre needs 250 chairs in all, which will cost more than £18,000 to provide. So far the theatre has raised about £9,000.
John Palmer, chairman of Palmers Brewery, said: ‘We very much recognise the importance of the Marine Theatre as a community resource and as a venue worthy of national recognition.
‘There’s no other theatre that’s got the views the Marine Theatre has got, with such a wonderful surrounding town and history. Many famous actors have performed here – Jimmy Cagney entertained the troops here during the war, and there’s many others – and it’s a tradition that we’re proud to be associated with.
‘I hope our donation will encourage other local businesses to support this most worthy cause.’
The donation came from the new Palmers Brewery Fund, which was set-up this year to support community groups in West Dorset.
The fund distributed £5,000 in hits first round of awards this year to eight causes in the area.
‘The fund has another £5,000 to distribute this December and the deadline for applications is 1 November. I urge people to send in their applications in good time,’ added Mr Palmer.
For more information and to download an application form, visit the Fund section of the Brewery website. You can also pick up a form in person from the Brewery office in West Bay Road, Bridport.