Help families in need enjoy a Christmas show

A scheme to provide free theatre tickets at Christmas for families in need is looking for more sponsors. The Pay It Forward Christmas Scheme will enable children and adults to see this year’s seasonal Studio show The Elves and the Shoemakers.

A £10 donation provides a free ticket for a child or adult. Donated tickets will be given to six local charities, all of whom support York families in need. It will be their first time at a theatre for many who receive tickets.

Development Manager Caitlin Hazell said: “We want more people to have opportunities to engage with us. We want to provide opportunities for more families to experience the joy of theatre, no matter what a person’s age, background or experience.”

Maire Doyle, of York City of Sanctuary – one of the charities which has received tickets in the past – said: “York Theatre Royal has been brilliant in their support for our Syrian families and other refugees, here in York. I know the theatrical events and productions have been wonderful for children and their parents. For many it is the first time they have been to a play and it's been a really happy experience.”

Corrina Dobson, IDAS (Independent Domestic Abuse Services), said:  “From our refuge in York, we run a range of practical services to support the women and children who have fled domestic abuse. We find that, due to the isolation caused by domestic abuse, many of the families have never been on any day trips or holidays’ that most of us take for granted. 

“A trip to the theatre is something that not many of the women and children have ever had the opportunity to do, so this is an amazing experience for them. During their stay with us, we aim to enable the mums and children to have some of these experiences - often for the first time.”

Kevin Baker, York Foodbank, said: “We recognise that everyone should have access to the arts, but unfortunately for families in crisis or on low income going to the theatre just isn't an option.  It has been wonderful to offer tickets to families in such circumstances, to take some time away from the stresses of life to enjoy some entertainment with their children. Thank you to all those who donated tickets, they are very much appreciated’

The Elves and the Shoemakers, which is being supported by Little Vikings, is playing in the Studio from 11 December to 5 January.

 If any businesses or individuals would like to find out more about how to support this scheme, please contact Caitlin Hazell on fundraising@yorktheatreroyal.co.uk or call 01904 715460.