PEOPLE in Waveney were this week invited to “sponsor a seat” at Lowestoft’s biggest theatre as part on an appeal to raise funds for a major expansion of the building.

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As revealed last week, the Marina Theatre has launched The Next Stage appeal to raise £100,000 to more than treble its floor space and fund a major improvement to its facilities.

The Marina Theatre Trust wants to expand the Edwardian building by linking it to the former Zenith call centre next door, to house a café-bar, a new improved box office and a meeting area for theatre-goers.

This week, the appeal organisers launched a “sponsor a seat programme” – inviting people to donate £100 to have their name or those of loved ones inscribed on a brass plaque on one of the Marina’s 750 seats.

If 200 people sponsor seats in this way, it could raise one fifth of the appeal’s total.

Meanwhile, the man who is leading the appeal is also looking to find “five diamond” donors who will each donate £5,000 to the appeal by sponsoring furnishings for the new café-bar.

Joe Larter, a member of the trust, and founder of Pleasurewood Hills, is even hoping to find a generous individual or organisation to hand over £25,000 to sponsor the new link between the buildings, which will also double up as an occasional art gallery.

People are also being encouraged to make individual donations so that half of the £100,000 needed will be raised by the end of December, with the rest hopefully being collected by the end of June next year.

Mr Larter said: “Of course £100,000 is a lot of money to raise, but I feel it is most certainly possible. With appeals we are making to the charitable trusts and individuals we are confident that we will raise our funds in time.

“But our strongest support will come from the public who over the last few years have demonstrated their love and support for the Marina Theatre.”

“As trustees we are doing our bit to take the expansion project forward and have been amazed at the help offered already.

“But we need you all you buy a seat, sponsor at whatever level you are comfortable with, or just make a donation. Your theatre needs you!”

The Marina Theatre Trust has already secured the leases for the former Zenith building and it is hoped the new link will be completed in November.

The theatre is also currently undergoing a £250,000 refurbishment and restoration of its main auditorium which is set to be completed in time for September 14 when the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is due to perform.

 For more information on The Next Stage appeal, call 01502 533202 or email info@marinatheatre.co.uk

 Postbox – page 21

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