Portsmouth theatre is on the up after bank problems

Artistic Director Richard Stride.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (132373-23) ENGPPP00320130828080413
Artistic Director Richard Stride.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (132373-23) ENGPPP00320130828080413
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A THEATRE is back on track after problems with its bank threatened its future.

The Groundlings Theatre in Kent Street, Portsea, Portsmouth, faced closure after its bank shut its accounts by accident.

But thanks to people donating money, the theatre will remain open and its audience numbers are starting to rise again.

Artistic director Richard Stride said things were looking up after a terrible start to the year.

‘We have been in touch with the ombudsman to see if NatWest will give us the money we lost through its mistake,’ he said.

‘A decision will hopefully be made in the next couple of weeks but until then, we are just trying to get things back to normal.’

As reported in The News, the theatre had to go four weeks with no money as NatWest closed its accounts.

This meant it couldn’t pay staff, advertisers or people to make pamphlets.

Shows weren’t getting advertised and audience numbers fell with several shows cancelled.

But Groundlings held a family fun day to raise money to keep going.

Richard said the support from the community has been great.

He added: ‘The family fun day was fantastic and the community has been supportive. We had one man who stopped working at his own business to help us for a week’

The fundraising has allowed the theatre to start advertising its shows again and Richard said the last one had good audience numbers.

‘We’re looking forward to our shows with the last production selling a reasonable number of tickets,’ he said.

‘Autumn is expected to be a good season for us so I’m excited for that.

‘Financially, we’re also getting back on track and if the bank has to pay us, we will be back where we were before the mistake.

‘If they don’t have to pay, it might take us until the end of the year to get back to where we were.

‘But things are getting better.’