Sainsbury Singers send out SOSBy Linda Fort
May 18, 2012
Love, marrying the boss and people trafficking are among the varied themes of a musical due to hit the stage at The Hexagon next week.
And the amateur performers are urging people to go along because if ticket sales do not pick up it could spell the end of one of Reading’s longest running musical groups – the Sainsbury Singers.
Reading West MP Alok Sharma has even got in on the act and is calling on music lovers to go and see Thoroughly Modern Millie which runs at The Hexagon from Tuesday, May 22, to Saturday, May 26.
The Sainsbury Singers, founded by Frank Sainsbury in 1938, are afraid this show could be their last.
The decline in ticket sales means the group has not yet covered the hire of The Hexagon and it could also make big losses on its other costs.
In 2003 the Sainsbury Singers started a children’s theatre group, Kidz Alive! to encourage schoolchildren to become involved in the theatre. Kidz Alive! meets once a month on a Saturday afternoon in the Grange Church Hall in Southcote.
Rob Latimer, from the fundraising team at the Sainsbury Singers, said: “If sales do not pick up soon we face a heavy loss which may cause the society to fold.
“Local theatre has been a great asset in Reading over past years but the current lack of support from the public and the media is forcing many organisations to seriously consider their future.
“Next year is the 75th anniversary of the creation of the Sainsbury Singers and we are currently planning several celebratory events in the local community. We desperately hope we can continue to help providing access to the arts in Reading for years to come.”
Mr Latimer continued: “Against the backdrop of increasing costs and reducing audiences, the Sainsbury Singers has worked tirelessly to bring down their budgets.
“Over the last two years the group has taken a number measures, including using different venues and costuming the shows themselves.
“This has brought the average costs of a show down by a massive 42 per cent. Unfortunately, however hard we work at bringing down the costs, the audience numbers are reducing at a greater rate.”
Mr Sharma said: “I have known the Sainsbury Singers group for several years and the charity plays an important role in nurturing local talent and helping schoolchildren to gain in self-confidence by taking part in public performances and it would be a real shame if the group could not continue to run.
“With tickets costing as little as £6, I would urge anyone with an interest in the theatre to go out and enjoy this show knowing you will be doing your bit to make sure the group can continue to cultivate local talent and put on shows in the future.”
Thoroughly Modern Millie tells the story of a small-town girl, Millie Dillmount, who comes to New York City to marry for money instead of love – a thoroughly modern aim in 1922, when women were just entering the workforce.
Tickets start from just £6 and are available from the box office on (0118) 988 2510, the website www.sainsburysingers.org.uk or from The Hexagon on (0118) 960 6060.