Craft On group creates face masks to help raise money for the Belgrade Theatre

For many people, a visit to the Belgrade Theatre means a trip to see a show, but did you know that our building also regularly hosts a wide range of groups, events and activities that serve its local community?

Among those who have temporarily lost a base at the theatre in the light of the current lockdown restrictions is local needlecraft for wellbeing group, Craft On, which normally meets weekly in our foyers.

Ever since our doors first closed in March, this resourceful group of crafters have been keeping in touch with each other and working on projects via Facebook, as well as helping to support our Monday Makes weekly craft tutorials.

But with theatres still unable to fully reopen or generate enough income to cover their costs, our industry now faces its biggest crisis in decades, and is relying heavily on the generosity of its supporters to survive.

The Belgrade Theatre is a registered charity, which means that the money that we earn and receive is not distributed as profit, but is instead reinvested in our work, from creating shows to visiting schools, to running a huge number of youth and community projects.

As such, we were delighted when Craft On group leader Niki Doughty Lee set up her own fundraiser, volunteering her time and skills to create face masks, which she is giving away to anyone who makes a donation of £5 in support of our work.

All of the masks are handmade, with a mix of plain and beautifully printed Liberty fabric options available. Each one comes with 10 inches of elastic on each side which can be easily adjusted to ensure the mask is a good fit.

While not surgical grade, they’re a great option for anyone who is currently unable to avoid using public transport or visiting public buildings, since they’re easy to wash and reuse.

So far, the venture has raised around £200 to support the Belgrade and there are now just a few masks left. You can take a look at what’s available and place your order via Facebook here.

Niki Doughty Lee said, “The Belgrade has generously provided us with space for our group to meet and socialise, and we are always looking for small ways to say thank you for their hospitality. We know that theatres are in real trouble at the moment so I wanted to do what I could to help out.”

Belgrade PR Officer Heather Kincaid said: “We take pride in the fact that the Belgrade serves a hub for the community and means so much to so many different people, but of course this also means that our temporary closure is affecting much more than just the work on our stages, and we know that its impact is being felt widely across the city and beyond.  

“Craft On have always been hugely supportive of our charitable work, and we have really enjoyed collaborating with them on projects ranging from knit-ins to create twiddle muffs for our relaxed panto performances, to our first craft fair. Once again, we’ve been overwhelmed by Niki’s kindness in volunteering time and materials to support us. We sincerely hope to be able to welcome Craft On back to the theatre before too long.”

Find out more about why we are a charity or make a donation to us online via our Support page.