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Theatre to open in Matthews Yard in Croydon after crowd-funding success

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BRITAIN's first crowd-funded theatre is to open in Croydon after the public backed the project based in Matthews Yard.

Owner Saif Bonar turned to website Kickstarter to raise £5,000 needed to transform the rear of the cafe and co-working space in Old Town into a resource for theatre groups.

The project, called The Studio, exceeded that goal this week and, with the deadline on Monday, Mr Bonar will have even more funds at his disposal to realise his idea.

He said: "We've had a lot of help from Twitter. People have seen that others are backing it and so they have too. It all snowballed from there.

"It's really good to see so many people and small businesses get behind it. It's great that even some business which you could say were our competition have also helped out.

"They've recognised this is something for the community which could bring tens of thousands of pounds to Old Town, so everyone will benefit."

Mr Bonar will use the money, likely to be released two weeks after the deadline closes on Monday, to transform a 100 square metre space at the back of Matthews Yard -off Surrey Street - into a theatre capable of hosting live performances, rehearsals and films.

The money would fund installation of a stage, green room and seating.

Having exceeded the target, Mr Bonar aims to buy better lighting and a public address system as well.

From next week, the space will be used for rehearsals by two Croydon-based performance groups; Zoom! Arts and Big White Light, with the theatre potentially opening in March.

Mr Bonar hopes the studio will go some way to filling the culture gap left by the closure of the David Lean Cinema and the potential loss of The Warehouse.

He said: "There's clearly a desire for the arts in Croydon and a sense of belonging. Hitting our target is a lot to do with the sense of community which has built up over the last six months."

Theatre to open in Matthews Yard in Croydon after crowd-funding success


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