The Lowry has raised £39,500 from its 2016 Christmas Appeal – the largest amount since the annual appeal began in 2011.

The money will be used to support young people from Salford that are in, or have recently left, the care system – in particular, helping them develop confidence, self-esteem and key life skills whilst also experiencing the arts for the first time.

Fundraising for the year-long programme of activity has included bucket collections after shows between November (2016) and January (2017) as well as individual activity undertaken by Lowry staff and volunteers.

The 20 young people – who live across Salford and Manchester – will now begin a year-long drama project resulting in a production to be performed on The Lowry’s Quays Theatre stage in autumn 2017.

The programme will involve a creative residential with professional theatre company 20 Stories High, trips to see theatre shows, and masterclasses in stand-up comedy, theatre, playwriting and performance.

The young people will also work towards gaining an Arts Award qualification, which is a GCSE equivalent.

Julia Fawcett OBE, chief executive of The Lowry, said: “The Christmas Appeal is one of our most important, annual fundraising events. It cuts to the very heart of what The Lowry is all about – opening up the arts to all, and using the arts to improve people’s lives.

“At almost £40,000, this year’s total is the best yet – and we are incredibly grateful to our theatre audiences for their generosity.”

The Lowry is a registered charity no: 1053962.

Bucket collections took place on the following shows: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Horrible Christmas, Blood Brothers, The Peony Pavilion and Be My Baby.

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