BlackBox Theatre Company Appeal

by Chris Hawley in Fareham, England, United Kingdom

BlackBox Theatre Company Appeal

Total raised £2,560

raised so far



In these uncertain times, BlackBox Theatre Company need your help to allow us to continue to reach out to our audiences. We have a plan!

by Chris Hawley in Fareham, England, United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 29th April 2020 we'd raised £2,535 with 39 supporters in 28 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

 New stretch target

If we can surpass our original target we can continue to record more plays, employ more local talent and reach out to a wider audience

Well, nobody saw this coming!  

Due to the ongoing crisis, theatres across Britain have now had to close their doors and small theatre companies like ours are amongst the hundreds who are struggling, but still clinging on and planning for the future.

As a not for profit company we are always sailing close to the wind financially but in the past we've been fortunate to have had support from The Arts Council in the form of project grants and from local companies and individuals as sponsorship, donations and support in kind, and for this we are always very grateful.

But these are unusual times and not being able to produce anything live at the moment means we have no way of raising funds for future projects and like any small business we still have ongoing overheads.  But, we have a plan!

We'd like, with your help, to try out a new venture for us .... nearly live theatre! Well, more like a radio broadcast really.


Last year we toured with The 39 Steps- A Live Radio Drama which went down a storm with our audiences.  The play was set in a 1960s radio studio - after a faultering start, where none of the 'actors' have turned up due to being stuck in snow, the producer of the show, Julian, ropes in Brenda the tea lady ("food and beverages operative") and Roy the studio tecnician and manages, with their help, to put on a stunning (if at times hilarious) production of John Buchan's classic ripping yarn.


When we rehearsed the play, it was imporatant for us that it would actually work as a real radio drama, as well as a great piece of theatre.  So, now we'd like to put that theory to the test ... and record it.  Although everyone is in lockdown, fortunately, with today's technology, we've figured out a way of getting the original cast together online, record it remotely and edit it all so that we can then make it available for listening through social media, online radio stations and community websites ... for free.

The money we hope to make through this appeal will go towards some basic studio equipment, ie microphones, etc, which will be delivered to the actors so they can record from the safety of their homes, but most importantly to pay them, the director, the editor and the writer, who are all struggling to make ends meet in these difficult times.  It will also allow us to continue to pay our ongoing overheads, which, although not huge, still have to be met. Plus ...

The Minstead Trust/ Hanger Farm Arts Centre

Over the last year or so, we've developed a special relationship with Hanger Farm Arts Centre in Totton who are run by an amazing charity, The Minstead Trust. They've offered us rehearsal space and technical support and in return we've helped raise funds for them through the sale of programmes on our tour.  We're also in talks about future collaborations which is all very exciting.  

Based in Minstead Village in The New Forest, the Trust  supports people with learning disabilities across Hampshire and Wiltshire, helping them to achieve a greater independence, develop new skills, lead fulfilled lives and live as full citizens in our society.   The Trust also incorporates Training and Support Services, Furzey Gardens, Hanger Farm Arts Centre and the Minstead Lodge hospitality social enterprise. Having recently taken over Hanger Farm Arts Centre, they have set up a Community Theatre Group, (which we've seen in action ... and they are fabulous!) as well as offering disabled adults the chance to work in the hospitality sector.  

But, of course, The Trust have been hit by the fallout from this epedemic, like the rest of us, and we'd like to do our bit to help.  10% of the monies we raise through this appeal, we will to donate to The Minstead Trust so they can continue to support those in our communities who are less fortunate than us.  Also, when we publish the finished recording of The 39 Steps online we will include a link where audiences can donate to this incredibly important and vital charity.  



If this proves to be succesful we already have plans for a series of similar recordings which will employ local actors and new writers, who will otherwise be sat at home watching Homes Under The Hammer on repeat and eating cold macaroni cheese out of a tin ... and nobody deserves that!  It will also mean we can continue to reach out to our audiences, a lot of whom are elderly or at risk, who will be self isolating or social distancing themselves from family and friends and who are quite possibly on their own.  So, if you can dig deep and show your support for BlackBox and those who are feeling at their most vulnerable in our communities at the moment, we'd once again be very, very grateful.  And you never know, we might just produce something fabulous in the process.



Award winning writer, director and producer, Chris Hawley, set up BlackBox to bring exciting, vibrant and above all entertaining productions to smaller venues and rural communities in and around Hampshire and since 2016 we've gained the reputation of being one of the leading small scale, professional touring companies in the south. Our aim is to make theatre accessible to everyone and to this end we have always included in our tours relaxed performances specifically for those on the autistic spectrum or with learning disabilities aswell as taking the shows into schools and colleges. We've also raised over £1000 for good causes, including The Royal British Legion and The Minstead Trust, through sales of our programmes.

"We want to continue to bring great theatre to our local communities and to make use of the abundant talent we have here on our doorstep."


BlackBox have toured to some extraordinary venues over the last few years, including cathedrals, museums, arts centres and even playing on the old Cross Channel Hovercraft at Lee on the Solent, as well as visiting village halls, schools, community centres and parish churches.  We've also been very fortunate to have had some great casts with us, including recent graduates who have had the opportunity to work professionally for the first time alongside some old hands in the business. 

We're also very grateful to Hanger Farm Arts Centre in Totton ( for their continued support and The Minstead Trust, a local charity working with adults with learning disabilities (


"An  absolutely hilarious and magical BlackBox of delights!" THE 39 STEPS, Scene One+

"This is a splendidly written piece which truthfully and movingly illustrates life in the trenches." WHIZZBANGS,Geoffrey Whitworth Playwriting Competition, 2018 (Highly Commended)

"...director, Chris Hawley, masterminds this to near perfection with a sureness of touch which suggests BlackBox Theatre Company isn't a name to note for the future - it's a name to note right now ... fabulous stuff" BOUNCERS, Chichester Observer

"A five star  performance. This should be on in the West End.  Well done everyone - we loved it" CB (audience member)

"I urge everyone to go and see one of the shows on their tour.  You will not be dissappointed!" AF (audience member)


A huge thank you to all of you for your support and we hope to see you in the autumn when we shall be touring with the iconic and hilarious Mike Leigh classic, Abigail's Party.  


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ABIGAIL'S PARTY Tour Dates 2020*


22   Netley Hospital Chapel, Royal Victoria Country Park, Southampton

23   St Marybourne Village Hall

24   TBC

29   Studio Theatre, Ashley Road, Salisbury

30   Catisfield Memorial hall

31   The Hovercraft Museum, Lee on the Solent


5     TBC

6     Hambledon Village Hall, Surrey

7     TBC

12   Hanger Farm Arts Centre, Totton

13   Corhampton Golf Club

14   Hurstbourne Tarrant Community Centre

19   The Nutshell Arts Centre, Winchester

20   Longparish Village Hall

21   Sarisbury Green Community Centre

26   St Nicholas Church, Wickham 

27   St Faith's Church, Havant

28   Chiddingfold Village Hall, Surrey

29   Thursley Village Hall, Surrey


3     The Lights, Andover

4     Forest Arts, New Milton

5     Ashcroft Arts Centre, Fareham



10   Furzey Gardens, Lyndhurst

11   Furzey Gardens,  Lyndhurst

12   Furzey gardens,  Lyndhurst

24   St Nicholas Church, Wickham

25   Royal Victoria Country Park, Southampton

26   Royal Victoria Country Park, Southampton (matinee)

27   Thursley Village Hall

* tickets subject to availability

Once again, a huge THANK YOU - to all our supporters, to our venues and loyal audiences and to you for helping make this project a reality.  x

We ask project owners to honour their rewards wherever possible but please note that all pledges are donations and there is no guarantee that you will receive any rewards from the project owner. Please see Crowdfunder's Terms of Use for more information regarding rewards for pledges.


This project offered rewards

£25 or more

A Friend

As A Friend your money will go to help us realise this project and keep BlackBox alive. We would also like to offer you a ticket to see either our next production, Abigail's Party, in the autumn or Blithe Spirit next spring

£10 or more

£10 Donation

If you can spare a tenner it will go some way to help us realise this project and keep BlackBox alive.

£50 or more

A Friend x 2

As A Friend your money will go to help us realise this project and keep BlackBox alive. We would also like to offer you two tickets to see either our next production, Abigail's Party, in the autumn or Blithe Spirit next spring

£100 or more


As A Benefactor your money will go to help us realise this project and keep BlackBox alive. We would also like to invite you to see our next production, Abigail's Party, in the autumn and Blithe Spirit next spring (2 tickets for each show). We will also include your name in the programmes for both shows

£250 or more

Executive producer

As an Executive Producer you will be helping us to realise this project and keep BlackBox alive. You will be credited as Executive Producer in the recording of The 39 Steps and offered 2 tickets for both Abigail's Party (autumn 2020) and Blithe Spirit (Spring 2021).

£500 or more


As a Sponsor you will be credited in the recording of The 39 Steps and offered 6 tickets to both Abigail's Party (Autumn 2020) and Blithe Spirit (Spring 2021). We will also include your name in the programmes for both these shows.

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