Stanwick actors hit hard by pandemic crowdfund to put on free summer shows
Laugh Out Loud Theatre want to stage shows for the community
A Stanwick-based theatre company still waiting to restart their indoor shows has come up with a dramatic solution to their problems.
Performers at Laugh Out Loud Theatre (LOL Theatre) have been spending much of lockdown without being able to do live shows.
With the lockdown restrictions hopefully being lifted, albeit a month later than previously planned, the actors are hoping a Crowdfunding drive will help them return to the stage.
The small non-profit theatre company would like to tour their Ranger Rick's Animal Adventure - a 30 minute fun fact-filled interactive family show - around open air venues across the county.
Emma Kendrick, company director for LOL Theatre, said: "It's been a really tough year for everyone, ourselves included. We've had to postpone events and our actors have been missing live performances; so have a lot of the public. We really want to lift people's spirits this Summer and bring back live theatre.
"We're based in Stanwick, and we want to give something back to our local community so that they have something to look forward to this summer.
"Ranger Rick's Animal Adventure was originally commissioned by the Wildlife Trust BCN in 2018 and funded by the National Lottery Community Grant.
"We have set up a crowdfunding page to raise £1,000 to put on one day's worth of shows for free at Rushden Lakes.
"We'd really love to make this a reality so that the local community can benefit from having some free outdoor theatre to experience later this year.
"Not only that but we are going to employ local actors, writers and directors so this really is a 'Made in Northamptonshire' production."
Ranger Rick's Animal Adventure highlights some of the animals that live in the Nene Wetlands with the Ranger Rick - or sometimes Ranger Rita - needing help from the audience to look after the animals they meet, including owl, otter, spider, heron and bat.
Emma said: "The show was originally funded through the Wildlife Trust BCN by a National Lottery grant. This money has, unfortunately, run out. We are fundraising to try and get at least one out of the four days that we hope to run the show on, funded through our Crowdfunding campaign.
"We are also applying for local grants to fund the other dates so that we can perform as many shows as possible for free for the local community to enjoy on a summer's day out in our glorious green spaces."
Each show requires three professional actors who will need to rehearse the show before they perform to the public, with a director, to ensure that the show is top-notch and ready to go.
Emma said: "People often don't realise what goes into making a theatrical performance. Each performance day costs around £823.24 to produce, plus we will need 'contingency' money just in case hidden costs occur. There are lots of elements to think about when putting together a budget for a show - admin fees, insurance costs, food and drink expenses, writer's fee, director's fee, costumes, props and advertising costs.
"If we reach our fundraising target of £1,000 we will be able to fund one day's worth of shows that the local community can enjoy for free. As we are a non-profit organisation, any excess money we raise will go into another day of performances or another project for the local community to enjoy.
"We'd love to return this summer if we can fund the production. As people start to come out of lockdown and Covid-19 restrictions lift, we feel that this outdoor street theatre performance would be the perfect remedy to the past year.
"It's full of laughs and interactive fun for all the family to get involved in. We also think it's the best way to combat social anxiety that has been a major factor in so many people's lives over the last 15 months. We are hoping to put on five performances a day on four separate dates across different locations in Northamptonshire in August 2021.
Nene Wetlands at Rushden Lakes have already given permission for the show to visit their venue and the cast is keen to perform at a couple of other locations which are also managed by the Wildlife Trust BCN - Summer Leys Nature Reserve near Wollaston and 'Bradlaugh Fields' in Northampton.
Emma added: "On top of this, as a huge 'thank you' from all of us at Laugh Out Loud Theatre, the first one hundred people to donate £10 or more will get a personal video message from one of the characters from the show."
To support LOL Theatre's Crowdfunding for live theatre click here.LOL Theatre are Emma Kendrick, Tim Page, Flic Jones and Natalie Castka, a mix of actors, directors, writers, producers and technicians who have formed a collective theatre company for theatrical community productions - hiring local actors and crew members to produce the shows.