A Christmas season Save A Seat fundraising campaign by Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB) has raised over £15,000 in donations.

The companies said that the donations were raised 'thanks to the generosity of audiences and the incredible support of match-funders, global law firm DLA Piper, in Birmingham'.

The fundraising initiative aimed to help cover the lost income from some of the seats left empty during the run of The Nutcracker at The REP, after performances in front of socially distanced live audiences were cancelled due to local tier restrictions. All proceeds will be split equally between The REP and BRB.

Audiences can currently watch another cast of Birmingham Royal Ballet dancers in The Nutcracker At The REP, streaming online until Sunday (21 February). Tickets cost £10 per household and can be purchased at brb.org.uk.

Trevor Ivory, Birmingham Managing Partner at DLA Piper, said; “Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Birmingham Royal Ballet are two of the city’s cultural crown jewels, and we are extremely proud to have supported their Save A Seat campaign during a particularly difficult time for the arts. We encourage everyone to maintain their support for these ever-important institutions when possible, and to look forward to a time in the not-too-distant future when the curtain can rise once again.”

Sean Foley, artistic director at The REP, added: “2020 proved to be an unprecedented and extremely difficult year for theatres across the country, including here at The REP. However, in these challenging times, we have been overwhelmed by the incredible support of audiences and partners - including the fantastic response from supporters of our Save A Seat campaign and the generous match-funding from DLA Piper LLP. We very much look forward to a time in the not-too-distant future when we can welcome all of those who have helped us over the course of the year back to The REP.”

Carlos Acosta, director at Birmingham Royal Ballet said; “Birmingham Royal Ballet are so grateful for the incredible support from The Nutcracker At The REP audiences, and to DLA Piper LLP for match-funding the Save A Seat campaign. 2020 was a difficult year for Birmingham Royal Ballet and the arts industry, but the unwavering support from audiences has been a constant source of encouragement for the Company, and we cannot wait to return to the stage as soon as we can!” 

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in many arts organisations being unable to open and perform in front of audiences for over seven months. Since March last year, over 80% of The REP’s income has come to an abrupt and unexpected halt. However, in the last 11 months the theatre’s workforce has committed to finding inventive new ways of engaging a diverse spectrum of people and communities.

The impact of the pandemic has also had a huge impact on Birmingham Royal Ballet. With so much uncertainty, it's proven difficult for the company to confirm plans and performances, or to deliver its education work to the thousands of young people across Birmingham who would ordinarily benefit from it.