An update on Iris’ future: and a big thank you!

If you’re new to Iris, you may want to visit this page first, to read about the charity, and the appeal we put out at the start of May.

Earlier this month, we wrote to you – our audience, supporters, friends, colleagues, and new followers – to tell you that we had to postpone this summer’s season until 2021, and that this meant that Iris was in urgent financial trouble.

We’ve been overwhelmed by the support we’ve received since. Messages of love, people recounting the summers they’ve spent at the Actors’ Church, and ex-volunteers and staff telling us what a difference Iris made to their careers: we’ve been bowled over. We haven’t managed to thank all you personally, but we hope to do so in the coming days.

And so many of you have also reached out to help us financially. Astoundingly, in just two weeks you’ve raised just over £10,000 to keep Iris running. This doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods, but it does mean that if we keep up this momentum, we’ll be much more likely to be able to survive.

With your wallets, and with your words, you have spoken loud and clear about how passionately you believe in Iris’ position as a theatre company, a trainer of young artists, and a vital waypoint and hub for theatre professionals in the heart of the West End.

Your support to-date will make a huge difference to us as we move into the summer months. Thanks to your donations, today we can confirm that the startDIRECTING scheme will go ahead this summer. We’ll be running training seminars and workshops online via Zoom for the five participants who gained a place on the scheme earlier this year. And this is just the beginning – we’ve got much more in the pipeline, both in supporting early-career artists, and for those itching to watch those artists’ work.

Looking forward

We still need to keep fundraising. Our job is to keep Iris financially sustainable longer-term – it’s a long way to next June, and without more support, we will still run out of money before we re-open. That means continuing to apply for funding, continuing to look for ways we can entertain people online, and also continuing to ask for help from you.

If you were thinking about helping us financially, please consider pledging to support us monthly via our Donorbox*, for as little as £2. Monthly donations make it much easier for us to plan for the future, and reliably predict what will come in each month.

If monthly giving isn’t something you’re able to do, but you would like to contribute, you can donate the cost of the tickets you would have bought this summer – or any other amount – via our box office, where you can also purchase gift vouchers to use next year.

Thank you so much for your support, be it in sharing these posts, spreading the word about this time of need, or in the donations you’ve so generously given, or will give in the future. It means so much to us and to the artists we’ll continue being able to support.

Please do also keep tweeting your memories of attending, volunteering or working on any of our shows over the years @iristheatre. Stay safe: we can’t wait to see you next summer!

Paul-Ryan Carberry and Paul Virides
Artistic and Executive Directors

* If you were previously unable to subscribe on Donorbox, we think that has been fixed, so please try again!