A GROUP of amateur actors in Fuengirola are rallying to help save Spain’s only English speaking theatre.
A fundraiser has been launched to protect the future of The Salón Varietés Theatre, which is threatened with closure amid the financial stress caused by the pandemic.
Established in 1986 and run by volunteers, the venue has been described as ‘more than just a theatre’ and ‘on par with any UK small professional venue’.
The stage has been graced by seasoned members young and old and major – from 90-year-old luvvies to rising stars still at primary school.
Even major British act Cannon & Ball have performed on its stage – and locals are desperate to back the campaign to save it
Unless the performing centre, which boasts members of every nationality from Britain and beyond, can raise €30,000 to cover day-to-day expenses, the cultural institution is in danger of closing its doors.
Thankfully, help is at hand, with pledges and testimonials flooding in and local and national artists singing the praises of this cherished Spanish showspace and describing the important part it has played in their lives.
Last week a stalwart of the theatre, Colin Pollard, hosted a one man fundraiser, raising €1600 in one afternoon. A recent Golf tournament hosted by Costa Del Sol singer Johnny G raised €5,500. Over 350 individual donors and a further 200 odd contributors, dozens of small business sponsors have helped so far.
Based in the Costa del Sol, it has provided a crucial service to many expat performers on their way to stardom.
Sarah Coombes is just one volunteer whose passion for the arts took root at Salón Varietés Theatre. She particularly treasures its diversity and friendly atmosphere.
She said: “The Salón Varietés Theatre is more than just a theatre. It’s a meeting place for the entire community, who show up to audition, perform, see shows or just have a coffee or a drink in the sunshine. From our most seasoned members in their late 80’s and 90’s, to our youngest performers. Early last year a 5-year-old shared the stage with
an 83-year-old in our Old Time Music Hall variety show – a true testament that everyone is welcome.”
Sarah, like many of her fellow performers, has been devastated by the impact the pandemic has had on the artistic community.
She said: “Like the entire Arts industry, Covid has hit the theatre hard. The costs of maintaining the listed building itself while being unable to put bums on seats are very difficult to meet, despite some great fundraising efforts by the local community, both expats from the UK and other European nationals.
“As an association, it’s not possible to turn a profit, so every year all excess funds get ploughed back into the theatre, equipment or maintenance.
“We are known and frequented by so many holiday makers here every year from the UK and beyond, who probably don’t even know how much their support is needed.”
The most recent fundraising mission has seen the talented volunteers rally behind the theatre and release and original song by James Burn and sung by Gemma Lloyd and Peet Rothwell.
Sarah said: “It sums up how many are feeling about the past year, and looks forward to the coming months and years, when we can regain a sense of normality.
“This is an appeal. An appeal for support, ideas, donations, collaborations.“With great determination and optimism, we will get the curtains open again.”
To donate or find ot more, you can view the fundraising single by clicking HERE.