The Salón Varietés Theatre has been presenting amateur theatrical productions in Fuengirola for more than 35 years, and in that time it has become an institution among the English-speaking community.
The devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic have left the theatre with severe financial difficulties, and, unless sufficient funds can be raised, it is in danger of closing for good.
SALVA president Lynn Halliday spoke to SUR in English about the current fundraising campaign and her determination to save the theatre, the only one of its kind in Spain.
How is the fundraising campaign going?
We are lucky, because we have a great fundraising team and they have been organising lots of different events. We have so far raised just over 8,000 euros, but we need to raise 30,000 by March, so we need a huge injection.
Are you confident that you will reach the target?
It is a lot of money to raise, but we are very hopeful. We have had a huge response, which is fantastic considering the financial climate at the moment, but we cannot be confident, as we really don't know what will happen.
What will happen if you do not hit the target?
If we do not reach the target by March, we will have to keep plugging on with the fundraising until such time that we can reopen the doors.
Do you receive any outside financial help?
No, we don't receive any grants or subsidies; we are fully self-financing. Running the theatre fully costs around 25,000 euros a month during normal times, so we really rely on bums on seats.
Would it be possible to open for matinees?
We have considered this, but at the moment we are restricted to how many people we can admit, so it would be very difficult to do without running at a loss. This is tragic, as there is nothing we want more than to put on shows.
How much does it cost to put on a show?
This depends on the show, because we have to pay performance rights and those are based on the amount of people that watch the show. We also have to build the set and make costumes, so it would be anywhere between 10,000 and 20,000 euros.
Do you own the building?
No, we rent the building, but our landlords have been very helpful: they are not charging us any rent, but this only lasts until March. However, it is not just the rent, because there are obviously lots of overheads, like standing charges for electricity, water, and general maintenance. This means we incur costs while having no incoming funds.
Do you receive any income from the bar?
Not as such. We sublet the bar, but, because we are not paying rent at the moment, we have passed this on to the bar also.
What is the worst scenario?
It would be absolutely tragic if the theatre closed. We have established a hub among the local expat community, so we are absolutely determined to keep the theatre alive.
How can people help?
By organising, or supporting events, or by making a donation. We will help publicise any fundraising events and we welcome any ideas.