CWT End of Year Newsletter

And so now it’s Christmas… And what have we done?

Another year over…And a new one just begun!

This year has seen the Crown Wharf Theatre project get back up on its feet and back out in the community.

The year started with the live stream of A Midsummer Night’s Dream which as well as raising funds for the project, reminded us all how much we missed live theatre.

This was followed by some sneak peak site tours of The Crown Wharf pub which gave us an opportunity to thank some of our wonderful supporters of the project that have sponsored a seat or offered donations in kind so far.

Then there was of course the grand opening of the pub itself, which we think is even more impressive than anyone ever imagined and gave us the opportunity to host some events right on the Crown Wharf site.

The amazing new pub inspired us to host our first Theatre Takeover event which took place on the August bank holiday, bringing us Ukulele’s, musical theatre, Shakespeare with a twist, live comedy and the first of many pub sing-a-longs. Come on, it’s pub attached to a theatre.

Then there was another first with Wharfstock, our first music festival made possible by the team over at Stone Food & Drink Festival. Vinyl Overdrive, Hairy Eyeball & Lack of Commitments raised the roof, raised funds and rocked the crowds! And despite holding an outdoor event in October, we managed to avoid the rain. If only there was a big enough space able to host indoor events all year round…

Music Theatre International released the rights to a cabaret of songs for a limited time in support of the theatre industry to reduce the cost of performing and maximise the fundraising potential and Theatre 1 took full advantage, entertaining the Sunday night Crown Wharf Theatre Bar community, once again showing their support and raising some valuable cash in the process.

Build Update

2021 was the year that saw Crown Wharf Theatre taking over the theatre site from Joule’s in April, when we signed our 50 (yes fifty!) year lease.

We immediately got to work, and the first priority was making some essential changes to the ‘back of house’ areas to ensure the facility could cater appropriately for the wide range of community groups that have expressed an interested in the project.  We have built a small link extension to ensure under-cover access to the toilets and dressing rooms, and made some big internal layout changes that have afforded us two large chorus dressing rooms, meaning the theatre will be able to host casts of up to 60 performers, great news for local theatre companies, performance academies, schools, scouts, guides etc.

With the major works complete we have gone on to commission an electrical specialist to bring mains power into the auditorium and carry out the first fix electrical installation back of house.  With all that completed in the Autumn, we now have a contractors working on site installing all the insulation and plasterboard, the back of house areas are looking more and more habitable by the day.

We have some incredible help over the year, local electrical lighting specialist LAUK have donated our domestic lighting fixtures, Magnet have donated a kitchen and another local company AT Commercial Interiors are helping with our bathrooms.

More exciting still, we have recently learnt that one of our funding bids has been successful.   The Community and Environment Fund, in place to benefit communities being disrupted by the construction of HS2, has awarded CWT with £75k.  This means we are now ready to start work in the auditorium, and from January we will be focussing on the complex electrical installation, hanging the lighting grid and laying down a substantial sprung timber floor.

And Finally…

On behalf of all the team at CWT, we’d just like to say a huge thank you for the tremendous support you’ve given us this year. Whether you’ve joined us for an event, shared your amazing talents free of charge, represented CWT volunteering at this year’s Ironman event, helped unload building materials on site, driven all the way to hull to pick up a donated kitchen, bought a pint of Much A-Brew About Nothing or simply popped £1 in a bucket it all gets us one step closer.

So, there’s only one thing left to do and that is to wish you and your family a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Cheers!

Local business lighting up Crown Wharf Theatre in Stone

The Crown Wharf Theatre charity has revealed its first founding partner as it continues to make big steps towards opening a brand new theatre in Stone.

LAUK Lighting, based on Stone Business Park in the town, has played a huge role in the project so far and has become a Gold Founding Partner.

Work started on the backstage area earlier this year and Oliver Freer from LAUK has not only donated his time and expertise, but the company is also providing all the required domestic lighting fittings for the project. Oliver has also helped the charity access vital electrical infrastructure equipment, which has been kindly donated by Schneider Electric.

The hardware alone would have cost the charity thousands of pounds, but in addition Oliver has given his time and professional expertise free of charge to produce vital domestic lighting designs for the project, as well as an online 3D model of the auditorium which gives an interactive, panoramic view of what the theatre will look like when it opens to the public.

Local businesses can become founding partners through making a monetary donation or, like LAUK, donating time, expertise and materials to the project. As a gold founding partner, LAUK will be featured on a Founders Board at the theatre and will get a Gold Founder plaque on one of the theatre seats. Plus they’ll get a plaque and certificate for their business premises.

Oliver said: “I had a tour of the theatre site in 2019 when it was nothing more than steels coming out of the ground. But I was so impressed by the project and its potential, so I wanted to get involved right then to help make this a reality. The theatre will be an amazing community space for everyone in the town. It’s been amazing to see the project progressing, and to be playing a part in making it happen is incredibly satisfying.”

Crown Wharf Theatre trustee Leo Capernaros added: “Right from the beginning, we’ve looked to build strong relationships with businesses in the area who share our vision for the town’s future and can see the potential of this fantastic facility in the heart of the community. Oliver’s help has been invaluable. We’ve been so fortunate to have so many people stepping forward and backing the Crown Wharf Theatre project. We couldn’t do it without them.”

The charity has been staging a variety of fundraising events this year, including an August Bank Holiday Theatre Takeover of the Joule’s Crown Wharf pub, and the charity’s first Wharfstock live music festival at Westbridge Park at the end of September. And there are lots more coming up, including a musical theatre cabaret, as well as Christmas concerts and carolling with the Cantiamo Chamber Choir, Revellation Choir and Florence Brass Band at the Joule’s Crown Wharf pub. Full details of all upcoming events are available on our Events Page.

A number of funding bids have also been submitted for the auditorium stage of the project. The charity should find out before the end of the year if they’ve been successful.

There is more information about becoming a Crown Wharf Theatre founding partner, and lots of other ways that businesses and residents can support the project on this website.

Get ready to rock at Wharfstock!

A big night of outdoor live music is being held in Stone at the end of this month to raise money for a brand new theatre and events space in the town.

‘Wharfstock’ is being staged by the Crown Wharf Theatre charity and takes place on Thursday 30 September at Westbridge Park. The event is being held on the Stone Food and Drink Festival site at the park, which gets under way the following day.

The Joule’s Brewery bar will be open for Wharfstock, some delicious food will be available from Griffin & Grey and Nui’s Kitchen, and three brilliant bands will be taking to the big stage.

Electro-acoustic band Vinyl Overdrive will open the show with some modern pop, rock and everything in between. Hairy Eyeball will pay tribute to the era when the Titans of Glam Rock stalked the charts. And The Lack of Commitments – the hard-working saviours of soul – will blast out some sweet soul and Motown classics.

***Event has taken place and ticket links are now unavailable***

All proceeds from the event will help the Crown Wharf Theatre charity move one step closer to opening the doors to Stone’s very own theatre and events space.

Harri Capernaros, Crown Wharf Theatre charity trustee, said: “Thank you to Stone Food and Drink Festival for letting us kick-start the big festival weekend at Westbridge Park. We’re looking forward to an amazing party and to raise funds as we work towards delivering a brand new theatre for Stone. There are only 400 Wharfstock tickets available, so grab yours soon if you want to enjoy some open-air live music with family and friends.

“And a big thank you to all the bands who’re playing free of charge for us so we can raise as much money as possible for the theatre.”

The Crown Wharf Theatre is a charitable project set up by local people to bring a new theatre and events space to the town. Located by the canal at Crown Wharf, the outer shell has been built as a donation to the community from Joule’s Brewery, Crown Wharf Theatre’s main sponsor.

The charity is now raising funds to transform the building. Work started recently on the back-of-house areas thanks to a grant from the Town Hall Charities, and several large funding bids have been submitted to other organisations to help fund the auditorium work.

As well as funding bids, the Crown Wharf Theatre project relies on the support of local people and businesses. There’s been backing so far through donations, offers in kind, corporate sponsorship, founding partners, volunteering, sponsoring a seat and more. You can find out more about the project and how you can get involved on this website.

When completed, the octagonal 200-capacity venue will accommodate a wide range of events: from theatre, comedy, live music and dance to meetings, conferences, cinema and more.

In The Press: Wharfstock to rock Westbridge Park!

In Your Area

Live music event in Stone will help raise money for town’s brand new theatre

https://www.inyourarea.co.uk/news/live-music-event-in-stone-will-help-raise-money-for/

A Little Bit of Stone

Fundraiser “Wharfstock” to rock Stone’s Westbridge Park

https://alittlebitofstone.com/2021/09/03/fundraiser-wharfstock-to-rock-stones-westbridge-park/

Brewery tap takeover by Crown Wharf Theatre on Saturday 28 August!

To celebrate the progress that’s been made over the last few months – and to celebrate the opening of Joule’s flagship taphouse in Stone – Crown Wharf Theatre and friends will be taking over the pub on the Saturday of the August bank holiday weekend (28 August) to bring you an afternoon of music, theatre and comedy.

You don’t need a ticket to attend. Just come along to the taphouse at Crown Wharf and enjoy the entertainment, for an hour or for the whole afternoon. There’ll be donation points around the pub, so please remember to bring some cash if you’d like to support, or you can donate via our website at any time). 

All our performers have donated their time and talent to come together and raise some money for this great project, so we hope you’ll support us too. 

Get down to the pub this August Bank Holiday Saturday whether you’re a fan of music, theatre, comedy, beer, great pubs or good old community spirit.

Here’s what we’ve got planned from 2pm… 

Come for a Drink, Stay for a Sing

A good old fashioned pub sing-along, from the war songs to ‘New York, New York’ and everything in between! Join in, or just listen to everyone else and enjoy this session of fun and song. 

Lichfield Ukulele Massive

Hailing from far-flung Lichfield, you could say the Massive are attending as part of a cultural initiative to forge closer links between two of Staffordshire’s loveliest places to live. 

The only comparison you could really make between this fab four and another one is that this group does like to take a sad song and make it better. Well, at least they make it quicker. But anyhow, if you’d like to hear a variety of classic songs performed boisterously on four ukuleles (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?) then please do come and have a listen and a laugh – and join in yourselves if you wish!

Bringing the Bard to the Bar

All the world’s a stage… or at least the Crown Wharf pub will be when local familiar faces tread the boards of the pub to bring you Shakespeare with a twist.

There really has been much ado about The Crown Wharf Theatre after our winter of discontent, so join us and our band of merry Revellers to meet ‘bar-crossed’ lovers, untamed shrews and more as we bring the Bard to the bar. 

It’s Showtime

Local theatre stars gather round the piano to perform iconic songs from the musicals. From the West End to Broadway, there’s sure to be a song for everyone. 

Comedy in the Theatre Bar (starting around 8pm)

Three comedians walk into a theatre bar…

See you there?

CWT supporters enjoy special mini tours

We were delighted to be able to offer early supporters of the project a sneak-peak tour of the theatre and Joule’s pub back in May.

Ensuring we kept things safe, we ran multiple mini tours across the day. This allowed around 40 people who have backed the theatre with sponsorship and other forms of support a good look round. Joule’s were kind enough to give everyone a free taste of some of their finest pale ale as we gathered outside in the courtyard afterwards to talk about the theatre plans and answer some questions.

To find out more about how you can support the project, check out the fundraising menu above!

Work kicks off on the back of house

The CWT charity now officially holds the keys to what is set to be a transformative theatre and events space. The shell is complete (an amazing donation from Joule’s Brewery to the town), the lease is signed, and the theatre bar will very soon be christened when Joule’s open the doors on their new brewery tap at Crown Wharf. 

Thanks to £50,000 of funding from Stone Town Hall Charities, work has kicked off on the theatre’s back of house areas. We’ve brought contractors in to build a single-storey link extension (ensuring our performers have a dry route to stage), they’ve knocked through to connect Wharfinger’s Cottage to the side store building, and they’ve extended the floor in one of the two chorus dressing rooms. It’s been incredibly exciting to see work getting under way. 

The rest of the backstage area will be community built, so keep an eye on our website and CWT on social media for details on how you or your business can get involved. We’ll need your help to get the back of house finished.

The auditorium has been given a boost by some generous offers in kind but there is still a way to go. The world of grant funding has started to open up again and we have some promising bids in the pipeline, so fingers crossed it won’t be too long until we can open our doors. 

Lease signed

Take a look at all the media outlets that have featured our signing of the lease with Joules Brewery:
In Your Area: 
Staffordshire Theatre:
The Stone Gazette: 
What’s On Live:
A Little Bit of Stone:

Progress Report – April 2021

The community of Stone is pulling together in a huge effort to deliver a brand-new theatre and community space in the town. Crown Wharf Theatre trustee Leo Capernaros gives us the latest news…

In January 2019 we were granted charitable status by the Charities Commission and a new charity, creatively named ‘The Crown Wharf Theatre’, was born. A lot has happened since then, including of course the pandemic, and whilst this has had an impact on the project, it has only made us more determined to realise the dream of bringing this fantastic new facility to the town, in our opinion it’s more vital than ever.

The charity is solely made up of local volunteers, each of whom around busy day-jobs and family lives are working flat out to make the most of this rare and fantastic chance to bring a theatre and community space to Stone.

The way the project has presented itself is unusual. In the beginning we were making tentative enquiries and imagined perhaps a ten-year journey of raising the money, making plans and then eventually developing a theatre (somewhere in Stone). But with the massive leg-up from Joule’s Brewery, our journey has been moving very quickly and in some ways is slightly back to front.

On the 1st April 2021 we signed the lease and got the keys to the shell of the theatre building, and the responsibility is now ours to raise the funding, complete the internal fit-out and then run the building for the benefit of as many people as possible. Whilst we can’t thank our lucky stars enough for the wonderful and wholehearted support from Joule’s Brewery, it has meant we have been playing catch-up from day one. It’s a little like building the plane whilst you’re flying along!

Firstly, we had to get charitable status, a drawn-out process with an extremely busy Charities Commission. We had to set our charitable purposes, governance, bank accounts, insurances, tax and accounting procedures, all the nuts-and-bolts stuff which ensure we’re properly run. At the same time, we had to quickly raise funds in order to commission specialist theatre architects who have worked with Joule’s during the design and build process to ensure the building shell is fit for purpose.

We have also had to consult with a range of theatre experts and quantity surveyors to capture the full scope of the internal fit-out, from heating and ventilation, to floor coverings, acoustics, comfy seating and the multitude of different types of cable required to be embedded into the walls of a functioning theatre.

While all this has been going on, we have had to think about the future. To give major funders the confidence and to make sure the theatre will be self-sustaining in the long-term we have had to research and build a fully costed and viable business plan. We continue to talk with potential user groups, ensuring we develop a formula that keeps the building accessible, affordable and occupied as much as possible.

Covid-19 has of course slowed things down, quite rightly all of our priorities shifted whilst we dealt with this painful and wide-reaching disaster. The pandemic led to the pausing of many grant schemes and put a stop to all the big fundraising events we had planned for last year.

The total fundraising target is £750,000 (gulp!), which would deliver a high-end fully finished auditorium with lots of bells and whistles. Given everything that has happened, we are now taking a phased approach and looking to raise a proportion of that figure which would provide us with enough equipment and finishes to make the space usable.

From there we can start to use the theatre, have some fun and continue to fundraise and develop the building over time.
Continuing to raise money is of course a primary objective, and if you want to help out there are all sorts of ways to donate:
– You can visit our JustGiving page (https://www.justgiving.com/crownwharftheatre)
– Hold your own fundraising event on our behalf
– Name a seat
– Become a ‘Founding Partner’ be that as an individual, family or if you own a business.

(Email info@crownwharftheatre.org.uk to enquire)

But it’s not just about cold hard cash, we have had some incredible help from volunteers, helping us in all sorts of ways, be that volunteering at our community events, helping us with websites, communications, accounting and technical expertise. It’s been brilliant to feel the community getting behind the project, and now we are full steam ahead with bid writing and planning some exciting events for 2021 it would be great to hear from you! If you feel like you have something to bring to the party please do get in touch.

We are also on the lookout for support from local contractors, tradespeople and suppliers offering expertise, labour and materials, all of which will help reduce the overall cost of the project. We will recognise any business that wants to support the project on a permanent ‘Founding Partners Wall’, so do get in touch if you think you could help out and be part of this incredible ‘legacy project’.

So where are we today? Now we have got the keys it’s time to press on. We are ready to begin fitting out the back of house areas such as the changing rooms, toilets and green room straight away, so there are lots of opportunities coming up for tradespeople, nifty DIYers and anyone who can hold a paintbrush to get stuck in. The auditorium fit out still requires more secured funding, but by hook or by crook we will make it happen. There’s a mountain of work to do, but step by step we will get there, together.

You can find out more about this hugely exciting project – and get involved – on this very website. Please feel free to have a click around!