Doncaster theatre's grant to help disadvantaged people visit

Cast has been given 60,000 to help get more disadvantaged people through its doors
Cast has been given 60,000 to help get more disadvantaged people through its doors

A Doncaster theatre has secured funding to help get more disadvantaged people to visit its facilities.

One of the UK's largest independent grant-giving organisations, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, will give £60,000 to Cast, from its arts access and participation 'Explore and Test' fund.

The grants are designed to support organisations to test, pilot and evaluate new approaches and their potential to make a difference.

The award covers a two-year period and will support Cast to explore a more sustained approach to learn about the complex barriers which prevent people from disadvantaged groups from accessing the theatre.

Cast aims to work collaboratively with users from five community groups in Doncaster.

Groups already recruited for the programme include Doncaster Conversation Club, which supports local refugees and asylum seekers, women’s charity Changing Lives, DMBC’s family scheme Aiming High and darts’ Creative Directions programme for people experiencing mental health issues.

The initiative, called Social Seats, will see more than 800 tickets made available, along with additional support activities including workshops, food provision, childcare and post-show discussions.

The charity hopes the project will successfully build on existing learning and create sustainable, long-term relationships that encourage the hardest to reach audiences to attend independently.

Cast director Deborah Rees said: "Everyone has the right to access life changing arts experiences that improve their quality of life.

"As a result of this grant we're really excited to discover how we can make this a reality in Doncaster."

The foundation's chief executive, Moira Sinclair, said everyone deserved access to the arts.

"The chance for people to live fulfilling and creative lives is central to our mission, and we see access to the arts as a right and as fundamental to achieving that," she said.

"So we are delighted to support Cast’s ambition to break down barriers and explore how to engage new audiences in Doncaster and more widely.

"The team there have already achieved a great deal. This programme builds on that experience and I hope will enable many more people to enjoy and experience what Cast has to offer."