Extending the Wonderfund magic

THE remarkable success of the Wonderfund project, providing free tickets for children and supporting schools to come back to Bath Theatre Royal’s Egg means the funding can be extended for up to two more years.

On Thursday 24th February, Bath’s dedicated young people’s theatre hosted the Wonderfundraiser to celebrate the project and acknowledge the support of charities, trusts and individuals who have supported the Wonderfund journey so far. But looking back to the end of 2021 when plans for the Wonderfund began to emerge, nobody could have predicted how much there would be to celebrate by the time the event came around…

The Wonderfund originally simply aimed to help schools come back to The Egg in the post-Covid climate. But at the start, local business owner Mark Roper listened very carefully when The Egg described a dream scenario to raise enough money to triple the number of performances for schools and make all the tickets free. The Roper Family Charitable Trust offered to donate, but only if The Egg secured £80,000. “We want to make sure you achieve your aims and outcomes,” said Mark; “we don’t want to see a scaled-down project.” Challenge accepted!

To date, enough money has been raised to offer up to 4,000 Egg tickets to state schools over the next 12 months and alleviate other barriers such as transport and teacher cover for the schools facing the greatest hardship.

“We started to see that, with ongoing support, we could extend the Wonderfund programme beyond 2022,” says Andrea Harris, the Theatre Royal’s head of development. “It feels like a real victory when prestigious local trusts such as The Roper Family Charitable Trust, The Medlock Charitable Trust and The Linder Foundation recognise children’s ability to access the arts as vital to their wellbeing, education and fulfilment.

“With ongoing support, we believe we can extend the Wonderfund programme to Spring 2024 and beyond. New partners are emerging all the time, and we’re looking at ways that we can work with community-minded corporates, the local authority and fellow charities to layer up opportunities that give the best impact for children and teachers.”

Visit the website for more information and details of the future Wonderfund programme.